Nottingham Forest face a thankless task in the third round of the FA Cup when they travel to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues will provide formidable opposition for Aitor Karanka’s side who make the trip south nursing several injuries to key players.

That said, the Reds did defeat the holders at this stage of the competition last season when they defeated Arsenal 4-2 at the City Ground and they will go in search of another scalp this weekend.

Ahead of the tie against Maurizio Sarri’s men, Seat Pitch looks at a possible likely line-up for Karanka to ponder.

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GK – Luke Steele

Regular stopper Costel Pantilimon is yet to start a cup game this season and against Leeds, he picked up a back injury.

Steele is a proven goalkeeper at Championship level and he will naturally be keen to stake his claim for a regular place.

RB – Tendayi Darikwa

The Nottingham-born defender has earned his place in the side this season and he looks set to start at Stamford Bridge.

Darikwa hasn’t been at his best in recent games and he will be keen to bounce back.

CB – Danny Fox

Fox has captained Forest since returning from his injury and with injuries to his team-mates, he should keep his place here.

The experienced defender is having probably his best season in a Forest shirt and his return to full fitness has been a big boost.

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CB – Jack Robinson

With Michael Hefele now on the treatment table with Michael Dawson and Tobias Figueiredo, Robinson could be forced into partnering Fox at the back.

It would see the Reds line-up with two left-footers at central defence but needs must and Karanka is struggling for bodies at the back.

LB – Saidy Janko

The Frenchman performed superbly well at the back against Derby recently and he could get a run out on Saturday.

Janko’s pace when flying up and down the left-hand side could prove a useful asset for the Reds at Stamford Bridge.

CM – Jack Colback

Forest’s man of the match against Leeds United should get the nod to continue his good form against Premier League opposition.

The Reds’ number six has been in fine form of late and Karanka needs his midfield maestro on top form if his side are to get anything from the contest.

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CM – Ryan Yates

Could the trip to Stamford Bridge be the perfect opportunity to hand the Forest academy graduate the chance to shine in the first-team?

The 21-year-old has been linked with a loan move away from the City Ground recently, according to the Nottingham Post, although his inclusion on the bench against Leeds could hint he is still part of Karanka’s plans.

RW – Matty Cash

The Forest winger was at his energetic best against Leeds on New Year’s Day and he should retain his place in the side at Chelsea.

Cash is capable of quickly turning defence into attack and that could be extremely useful on Saturday with Forest expected to play on the counter.

AMC – Joao Carvalho

The Portugal under-21 international has taken to the Championship extremely well and he is improving with every game.

A cup tie against Premier League opposition looks like being right Carvalho’s street and he will be keen to showcase his foreign flair at Stamford Bridge.

LW – Ben Osborn

Given that Joe Lolley hobbled out of the action against Leeds, it could represent a small risk to start him from the off tomorrow.

Osborn was sensational when he was introduced from the bench on Tuesday and starting at Chelsea would be his just rewards for a sterling cameo.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

ST – Daryl Murphy

The big target man was another standout performer in the win over Leeds and with Lewis Grabban ruled out through injury he should retain his starting berth.

The 35-year-old has looked like a completely different player this season and he thoroughly deserved his goal last time out.

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