Nottingham Forest have the opportunity to get themselves right back into the promotion mix in the next few weeks.
It wasn’t the most productive festive period for Aitor Karanka’s side.
A run of five games without a win in December have done Forest’s promotion push no favours.
Defeats against Preston, QPR and Millwall could’ve even seen Karanka lose his job at the City Ground.
However, despite a mounting injury list and off-the-field uncertainty, the Reds persevered and got a much-needed three points against Leeds.
But if Forest are serious about promotion, it’s the five-game run in front of them which could make or break their season.
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A huge opportunity to close the gap
To begin with, the Reds face a trip to Berkshire to face Reading next Saturday.
The Royals have failed to win any of their last 10 Championship matches. They have only won four matches all season.
With Tobias Figueiredo and Lewis Grabban set to be back involved, anything other than three points wouldn’t be acceptable.
Forest don’t return to the City Ground until January 19th when they play Bristol City. After beating Leeds in such dramatic style, it would not be a surprise to see another large attendance for this one.
The Reds could have the opportunity to gain back-to-back homes wins as they face Wigan at home just a week later.
Struggles at home
This is something Forest have only achieved once this season as they beat Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham at home within the space of four days. It’s about time they did it again.
Putting the Leeds game aside, the Reds have struggled to find their rhythm at home this season.
Birmingham, Millwall, Stoke, Preston and QPR have all caused Forest issues on their home patch, despite being teams they would’ve expected to beat.
If Forest want promotion, this has to change.
After that, the Reds are away at Birmingham. Garry Monk’s side are a tough nut to crack at St Andrew’s and will provide a stern test.
The Blues are currently level on points with Forest, so this could prove to be a match of huge significance in the race for the play-offs.
Finally, Forest return to the City Ground to face Brentford, having lost their last four home games against the Bees. If the Reds can end that torrid run, they they may find themselves in a far stronger position.
It’s time for Forest to prove they are worthy of being branded as promotion contenders.