AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Nottingham Forest v Newcastle

The word tricky can be applied to plenty of Carabao Cup fixtures and that is certainly the case for tonight’s clash between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle.

Both sides have had tough starts to the season. Forest, who followed Wolves’ model of raiding Portugal for top talent over the summer in a promotion bid, have stuttered in their early challenge for a promotion bid.

Aitor Karanka’s side were well fancied for a serious bid at the title but despite a flood of new attacking talent, they have managed to win just one game out of five this season. That was a 1-0 victory over Reading, themselves second from bottom on only goal difference with just two points.

A result against West Brom might look like a very decent point towards the end of the season but there were two failures against both Reading (23rd in current Championship table) and also Birmingham (22nd) which suggests that the lack of cutting edge that bedevilled them so much last season could continue into this campaign.

Rafa Benítez’ strife at Newcastle has been well documented, with a lack of investment from the ever-distracted Mike Ashley putting a cloud over the club before the Premier League season. However, it’s worth remembering that two of those fixtures were against the Top Six in the shape of Tottenham and Chelsea, and they managed to give sustained problems to both those sides.

There was a lot of criticism for their conservative approach against Chelsea, a game that they eventually lost, but they managed to frustrate the joint league leaders for 75 minutes with great success before Eden Hazard’s penalty and on the opening weekend they had given a lot of touble to a Spurs outfit who won their next two games.

It is impossible to take too much from that form, however. Aitor Karanka made 11 changes for their first-round tie against Bury and they ended up sneaking through on penalties after a stoppage time equaliser from Matty Cash pulled the scores level.

Last season these two teams met at the same stage and Forest went through after Benítez changed his entire starting lineup, with the two teams drawing 2-2 in 90 minutes before an extra-time winner for Forest.

With the focus on the Championship at this stage of the season it would not surprise to see the same changes once again and Benitez has a trip to Manchester City on Saturday, so this will be a game with unfamiliar faces.

Nottingham Forest v Newcastle
Carabao Cup, Second Round
19:45 Sky Sports Football HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
AUG 2017 CARABAO CUP Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest
DEC 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP Newcastle 3-1 Nottingham Forest
DEC 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP Nottingham Forest 2-1 Newcastle
SEP 2011 CARLING CUP Nottingham Forest 3-4 Newcastle
MAR 2010 CHAMPIONSHIP Newcastle 2-0 Nottingham Forest
OCT 2009 CHAMPIONSHIP Nottingham Forest 1-0 Newcastle

That could lead to a contest which is more open than either side is used to, and both teams to score is of interest. It’s happened in two of Newcastle’s three games so far and all but one of Forest’s despite their cumulative lack of goals, and it’s unlikely either side will be defensive despite changed XI’s.

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