Nottingham Forest return to Championship action this weekend as they face Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.
Martin O’Neill’s side picked up a much-needed victory against Swansea City last weekend. This ensured that they remained firmly in the hunt for the play-offs.
The Reds currently find themselves three points off the top six, with just seven games remaining. There’s no doubt that the next week or so is going to be crucial if they are going to make it.
It’s difficult to predict exactly how the Millers will play, as they’ll be desperate to respond to their 6-1 drubbing at Derby County last weekend.
Even though the Reds have struggled away from home all season, they will still be favourites to win this match. Paul Warne’s side have won just seven games in the Championship, although six of these did come at home.
Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Seat Pitch has taken a look at three players that the Reds will have to deal with if they are to secure the three points.
There’s no doubt that Semi Ajayi has been one of the shining lights in a tough season for the Millers. This has been the 25-year-old’s most productive season to date. He is currently the club’s top scorer having found the back of the net eight times in all competitions this season.
As a Nigerian international, Ajayi has been able to work alongside the likes of Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo. He recently told the Sheffield Star that this experience has helped raise his game.
He said: “Spending time at training, day in day out with top, top class players is going to help anyone improve.”
25-year-old midfielder Will Vaulks was recently rewarded for his efforts with the Millers this season by being called up by Wales manager Ryan Giggs. He made his debut last month against Trinidad and Tobago, and will be delighted to have now made two appearances for the Dragons.
It’s no surprise that his performances have given him international recognition. He has scored six goals in all competitions this season, whilst also racking up six assists. That isn’t a bad return for a midfielder playing in a team struggling near the bottom of the Championship. There will be plenty of interest in him during the summer transfer window.
6ft 3′ striker Michael Smith is a handful for any Championship defence to deal with. O’Neill is likely to continue with the centre-back partnership of Molla Wagué and Yohan Benalouane, and they will have to be aware of the striker’s aerial threat. He has found the back of the net five times so far this season.
However, it’s his hold-up play which has proven to be a lot more valuable to the Millers. He brings their more creative forward players into play. As well as scoring five goals, he has also managed to pick up two assists.