Huddersfield vs Nottingham Forest | Friday 25th September 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
It has not been the start to the season that both Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest would have wanted, but both have an opportunity to record their first victory of the campaign on Friday night.
Huddersfield welcome the two-time European Cup winners to the John Smith’s Stadium still very much settling into life under the management of Carlos Corberan, whilst it would appear Forest are still suffering a hangover from their end of season collapse a few months ago.
So much is that hangover that there has even been a few whispers that Sabri Lamouchi could soon start to come under pressure should things not improve quickly. How serious these rumours actually are though remain to be seen, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that Forest need to get their act together.
It is perhaps more understandable in the case of the Terriers considering the managerial change and introduction of new tactics, whilst the core of Forest’s squad is largely unchanged from last season, although Matty Cash has departed for Aston Villa, and Ben Watson is now a free agent. Scott McKenna, Harry Arter and Cyrus Christie have all been added to boost the squad but may need time to settle into new surroundings.
Whilst both teams have three defeats from three matches in all competitions this season, another concerning correlating fact is that both are still to find the back of the net.
Considering Forest have the likes of Lewis Grabban and new recruit Lyle Taylor in their ranks, that is a surprise, but Huddersfield have seemingly frozen out their top scorer from last season, Karlan Ahearne-Grant, who is seemingly intent on forcing through a Premier League move before the transfer window closes.
The former Charlton man alone was responsible for 36.54% of their Championship goals from last season, and Frazier Campbell has had his fitness issues in recent weeks and new signing Danny Ward missed their last game with injury, so they’re clearly lacking firepower.
We can’t necessarily say there have been any hard luck stories for either side so far, too, certainly in relation to their two respective Championship fixtures. Albeit we are only working on a small sample size of only two matches, Forest are ranked joint-bottom in the league in relation to shots on target, and Huddersfield have only achieved one more than them. End product is clearly lacking, and confidence can’t naturally be too high considering the run of defeats, as well.
I feel something has to give on Friday night and one of these sides can win this game if they really take this by the scruff of the neck. I guess the onus will be on Huddersfield to do that considering they’re the home team, but Forest actually had the third-best away record in the Championship last season, losing only four times on the road, and interestingly all four of those setbacks came to teams who finished in the bottom-seven, including Huddersfield.
Lamouchi’s side also had the joint-most number on away draws in the league last year alongside Swansea City, so there is a natural hard to beat type of tactic that they like to deploy away from the City Ground, although the fans may be expecting them to have a real go at winning this one considering their form.
Judging Huddersfield on last season’s form too strongly isn’t so wise given the fact Jan Siewart, Danny Cowley and caretaker’s Mark Hudson and Danny Schofield managed the club at various points.
It is just too safe to make a concrete case for either side to win this game. Clearly there is more to come from both outfits, and Friday could be the magical turning point for either of them, but even the bookies is struggling to separate them on the 1×2 market.
I think I will play it a little safe on call a 0-0 Half Time Score at 6/4 (SkyBet). I can only really picture this being a bit of a slow-burner affair with confidence levels not sky high, and the behind-closed-doors element on this too I feel will contribute to a tight and relatively uneventful first-half.
Huddersfield may have lost three from three, but they’re yet to concede a goal before the 50th minute, and after Nottingham Forest started so poorly in their 2-0 home defeat to Cardiff City I can just see Lamouchi being quite content to sit back and not do anything daft, so it keeps them into the game to have more of a go in the second half.
I was tempted to back the 0-0 at full time, especially as already 12% of Championship games have finished with this score, but it is just a personal thing that I don’t like backing that outcome! Also, for the record, there hasn’t been a 0-0 draw between these two since an FA Cup meeting back in 1939!
Huddersfield v Nottingham Forest – 0-0 Half Time Score (6/4 SkyBet)