Nottingham Forest must return from cloud nine tonight as Charlton Athletic arrive in the East Midlands looking to throw a spanner in Sabri Lamouchi’s promotion bid.
The City Ground was rocking on Saturday as Leeds United were swept aside. A 2-0 win for Forest has thrown them firmly into contention to win automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Goals from Sammy Ameobi and Tyler Walker ensured a memorable evening for the Reds who stayed hot on the heels of the division’s top two teams.
With a mouthwatering game at West Bromwich Albion to come on Saturday lunchtime, Lamouchi might choose to ring some changes for the visit of Lee Bowyer’s side this evening.
One of those could perhaps hand youngster Walker the chance to impress from the start.
The academy graduate tapped home his 17th goal of the season in stoppage time on Saturday to send the City Ground into pandemonium.
He had only been introduced as a time-wasting ploy with a matter of minutes left on the clock. It proved enough time to make an impact, however, and the hope will be that he can continue scoring goals.
Fruitful loan spells at Mansfield Town and Lincoln City have seen Walker highlight his goalscoring prowess and he will hope for more chances to impress back on familiar territory.
The 23-year-old will act as competition for 16-goal Lewis Grabban but with lots of important matches to come, Lamouchi will need to utilise his squad.
The French boss wouldn’t have recalled Walker if he wasn’t intent on using him between now and the end of the season.
Tonight’s visit from a struggling Charlton might be the perfect time to call on the man who put the seal on Saturday’s victory.
The Addicks have won just one of their last seven games and just two in their last 19 Championship outings.
Grabban has had a rough last two games. He missed a penalty at Birmingham and then saw an effort saved by Kiko Casilla on Saturday when it looked easier to score.
His work rate hasn’t once been in question but after playing so many games, it might be an idea to take him out tonight, allowing him to mentally prepare for a massive game on Saturday.
Grabban is still Forest’s main man but Lamouchi must pick his games carefully to avoid burn out and, perhaps more crucially, injury.
Walker deserves his opportunity and a starting berth against Charlton could see him add to his goal tally for the campaign.