The football is back and Nottingham Forest face Newcastle United this afternoon in the club’s first Premier League game in 23 years.

It was 1999 when Forest last tasted the top-flight. Westlife were top of the charts, Pete Sampras had just won Wimbledon and Saving Private Ryan was winning Oscars left, right and centre.

Today, the Reds are officially back. Steve Cooper is at the helm and Forest fans will head north in large numbers to back their team.

Today’s squad will look very different from the one that beat Huddersfield at Wembley in May, so we looked at who might start for Forest this afternoon.

Nottingham Forest predicted XI v Newcastle

The Forest rearguard

Dean Henderson will start in goal with the Manchester United man signed on a season-long loan to replace Brice Samba.

At centre-back, there will be a familiar feel from last season.

Forest Newcastle
Photo; Cameron Smith; Getty Images)

Joe Worrall is now the official club captain and Scott McKenna will also start in the back three.

Between those two there could be a debut for Moussa Niakhate who has joined the club from Mainz this summer and looks a shrewd addition.

The Forest engine room and wing-back

Djed Spence and Max Lowe have gone so Neco Williams and Harry Toffolo will likely start in the wing-back positions.

Giulian Biancone has also arrived this summer but he will likely settle for a place on the bench.

Lewis O’Brien should replace Ryan Yates who has been nursing a knock.

Partnering him will likely be Jack Colback as Cooper looks to keep some consistency from last season.

Orel Mangala has only had a week of training with his teammates and he could be saved for West Ham next week.

Leading the Forest line

Brennan Johnson scored 19 goals last season and he should keep his place in the team.

Forest Newcastle
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

He will likely line up alongside £17 million signing Taiwo Awoniyi who bagged 20 times for Union Berlin last season.

Behind those two, Jesse Lingard will likely get the chance to start.

He is Forest’s stellar signing this summer and he will have a point to prove this season.

Here is how Forest could line up against Newcastle this afternoon:

Subs: Smith, Biancone, Mbe Soh, Cook, Mangala, Cafu, Mighten, Surridge, Taylor

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