Football Previews

Cardiff vs Nottingham Forest preview, predictions and possible XIs

By James Richards

Published: 11:15, 25 February 2020

Cardiff City host Nottingham Forest in the Championship with just six points separating the sides and aspirations of play-off finishes firmly on the minds of both clubs.

The Bluebirds know a win would close the gap on those above them, while Forest will have this one down as a ‘must not lose’. Sabri Lamouchi’s side appear as though they might end years of disappointment this season and clinch a top-six finish.

Cardiff will be hoping Neil Harris can help them bounce back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, making this match a mouth-watering prospect.

Read on for our preview, predictions, expected lineups and TV information ahead of Tuesday night’s Championship action.

When is Cardiff vs Nottingham Forest and where can I watch live?

Competition: EFL Championship

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium

Date: Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Kick-off: 7:45 PM (UK time)

TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Main Event and live online on the Sky Sports app.

Last five meetings: Cardiff vs Nottingham Forest

22 October 2016: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Cardiff (EFL Championship)

17 April 2017: Cardiff 1-0 Nottingham Forest (EFL Championship)

26 November 2017: Nottingham Forest 0-2 Cardiff (EFL Championship)

21 April 2018: Cardiff 2-1 Nottingham Forest (EFL Championship)

30 November 2019: Nottingham Forest 0-1 Cardiff (EFL Championship)

Aggregate Score: Cardiff (WWWWW) 8-2 Nottingham Forest (LLLLL)

Ones to watch

Cardiff: Junior Hoilett

Junior Hoilett is a player that seems to have been around for ages but he is still only 29-years-old and has plenty of experience to offer the Bluebirds.

He is expected to return to the starting XI on Tuesday and offers Harris’ side an outlet down the left where he can exploit space to set up his teammates. The Canadian has scored three goals and assisted a further three this season, but will be looking to unlock the door and boost his side’s play-off chances against Forest.

Key stat: Junior Hoilett has completed 27 successful dribbles in the Championship for Cardiff this season, only Lee Tomlin and Nathanial Mendez-Laing have more.

Nottingham Forest: Lewis Grabban

Forest have a number of important players in their team. The likes of Joe Lolley links things together while Matt Cash has been impressive in defence, but in Lewis Grabban they have a striker who can really make the difference.

The frontman has been in excellent form this season and although he has not hit the net in any of his last five appearances, his record suggests it is only a matter of time before he is back on the scoresheet.

Key stat: Lewis Grabban has scored 16 goals in the Championship this season, at least nine more than any other Forest player.

Team news


The Bluebirds will be without Isaac Vassell, former Rochdale man Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Tomlin, with the latter expected to sit out for around six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Tomlin has created more chances than any other Cardiff player this term (40), so this is a huge blow to Harris.

Harris is, however, expected to restore Junior Hoilett and Robert Glatzel to the starting XI after missing out in the defeat at Stoke on Saturday.

Joe Ralls returned to the bench for that one, giving his boss another option should he need it.

Predicted XI: Smithies; Richards, Nelson, Morrison, Bennett; Vaulks, Pack; Adomah, Paterson, Hoilett; Glatzel.

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Nottingham Forest

Tendayi Darikwa will definitely miss out for Forest after rupturing his ACL before the season. He is expected to make a return before the end of the campaign but remains some way off for now.

Samba Sow also has a knee injury which Lamouchi explained as being day-to-day, so the midfielder remains a major doubt for Tuesday. Nuno da Costa is the other man not expected to be involved after coming off injured for the U-23s on Friday.

Predicted XI: Samba; Cash, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Yates, Watson; Lolley, Silva, Ameobi; Grabban.

Squawka prediction

Neither side have been in great form over the last five games although Cardiff certainly have been the better side of late. They will want to bounce back after a poor showing on Saturday against Stoke and have been unbeaten at home since November.

Forest have only won once in the last five matches, drawing the previous two and will look to avoid defeat on Tuesday. They are likely to try and hit Cardiff on the counter using the skill and pace of players like Joe Lolley and Sammy Ameobi.

However, with the Bluebirds looking more solid, they might just have enough to nick all three points.

Scoreline prediction: Cardiff 2-1 Nottingham Forest


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