Nottingham Forest take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Good Friday in the Championship.
The Reds will be looking to end their winless run away from home, whilst Chris Wilder’s Blades will be looking to bounce back from their setback at the weekend.
The reverse fixture ended 1-0 to the Reds at the City Ground earlier in the campaign, with João Carvalho and Lewis Grabban combining brilliantly to break the deadlock.
Seat Pitch: It’s fair to say you’ve you had a superb campaign, could you see it coming after just missing out on the play-offs last time out?
Ben Meakin: Not really, to be honest. I thought we’d be around the same level as last season, flirting with the playoffs but probably finishing 7-10th. We were close last season – a bit unlucky with injuries, mixed with some game management naivety in the last few months. But I still didn’t think we’d take this kind of a step forward.
SP: What’s your reflection on the weekend’s game? It must have been frustrating to drop points so late against Millwall at home?
BM: Immensely frustrating, I reckon it’s the biggest kick-in-the-teeth for me as a fan since we lost to Huddersfield in the League One play-off final in 2012 (I won’t bore you with all the details, but it’s not everyday your opponent misses their first three penalties and you still lose the shootout. With your goalkeeper ballooning the final kick). For the first time this season we lost some purpose and went backwards at 1-0. In the end Millwall deserved their point, even if it arrived so late. Just really frustrating to see us change our approach like that – yes, we’ve been defensively brilliant this season, so 1-0 leads can be safe – but league position suggests that we should have had enough to go for the kill.
SP: Chris Wilder is likely to be highly sought after in the summer if you don’t go up. Do you think he will stay with the Blades long-term?
SP: We’re clearly in for a tough game, so who do we need to look out for?
BM: Both Billy Sharp and Chris Basham went off injured against Millwall, so you’re safe from Sharp’s always-in-the-right-place instincts and unfortunately will be spared the magnificent sight of centre-back Basham galloping into your penalty area like a dinosaur on roller skates. I’d go with Norwood who is the player that makes the whole thing tick – he is an incredible passer, one of the best I’ve seen for United.
SP: What are you expecting from Nottingham Forest?
BM: I thought you’d be doing much better this season than you have – I actually tipped you for promotion on our pre-season podcast. To be honest, Forest have flown under my radar a little bit this season, so I’ll rely on some good old cliches instead. You’re one of the very few teams we are yet to beat since returning to the Championship, and there’s always a bit of edge to our games. I was kind of hoping you’d have lobbed in the towel for the rest of the season but these games usually have a little bit of a derby-type atmosphere to them. Fingers crossed the weather is better than the last time you came to Bramall Lane. I was getting snowed on in Row OO of the Kop, work that one out.
SP: Is there a player within our ranks that you would love to have in your team?
BM: Joe Lolley would be a very nice addition indeed.
SP: Finally, what do you think the score will be?
BM: We probably have to win our final four games to have a chance of automatic promotion now. I’m not confident of that happening, but I do expect a reaction from the Millwall game, so I’ll go for a 2-0 win to the Blades.