Nottingham Forest travel to Aston Villa tomorrow night, putting their five-game Championship unbeaten run on the line.
The Reds are starting to click into gear following a slow start and go up against Dean Smith’s side who have won their last two.
For Forest, it represents the chance to climb into the play-off places, with Aitor Karanka’s charges currently on the fringes of the top six.
Villa will provide a stern assessment for the Reds; not least due to the fact that Forest haven’t tasted victory there since 1994.
The class of 2018 will go in search of a morale-boosting victory in the West Midlands and earn a win that would be seen as a big milestone.
Not since Stuart Pearce and Steve Stone notched in a 2-0 win during the 1994/15 campaign have the Reds left Villa Park with all three points.
Forest haven’t had much to celebrate since the glory days of the early nineties. The likes of Stan Collymore, Bryan Roy and Lars Bohinen were single-handedly winning points for the Reds back then, firing the Reds into Europe in the process.
Forest’s record at Villa Park isn’t as bad as it perhaps sounds. For 17 years the two European Cup winners didn’t lock horns at all in a competitive fixture; such was the Reds’ demise down the divisions.
After a 2-0 defeat relegated the Reds in 1999, acquaintances wouldn’t be renewed until 2016; when a belter from Apostolos Vellios and a last-ditch Henri Lansbury strike earned Forest a share of the spoils from a 2-2 draw.
Later that season the Reds did claim a rare win over Villa at the City Ground; Ben Brereton scoring a famous stoppage-time winner in front of the Trent End in a 2-1 victory.
Last season normal service was resumed from a Villa perspective; running out 3-1 winners at Villa Park, before claiming a marginal 1-0 win in Aitor Karanka’s first game as manager on Trentside.
A lot has changed under the Spaniard since that baptism of fire against the Villans last season.
He quickly identified that a squad overhaul was necessary and tomorrow’s trip to Villa Park is with the best group of players the club has possessed in years.
Forest are a much tougher proposition for opponents to crack these days and this game will be a decent marker for Karanka and his side.