Nottingham Forest are looking to halt a slide in form this weekend when they travel to Luton Town for the first time in over a decade.
The Reds suffered back to back defeats for the first time this season when they were beaten by Wigan Athletic and Hull City last week.
With their game against Reading being postponed last weekend, Forest have failed to win a game since Head Coach Sabri Lamouchi was awarded manager of the month for September.
Ahead of the Luton game, Lamouchi said: “We are just two points from second place. We don’t need to change many things, just be more consistent
“After two losses, I just want to focus on the next two games. This one is important for us to come back.”
Forest have struggled with injuries over the past few weeks with midfielders Samba Sow and Alfa Semedo side-lined on the physio’s table. Former England defender and Club captain Michael Dawson has also been out since September and will still be unavailable when the Reds visit Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
“The Medical department are working hard to bring players back. Michael Dawson is not fit to play. He will be ready just after Luton.”
Forest’s French boss did confirm that defenders Carl Jenkinson, who joined from Arsenal in the Summer, and Yohan Benalouane are also close to returning from injury. Like Dawson, neither will be available to feature against the Hatters.
Forest will be hoping striker Lewis Grabban can find goal scoring form again as they prepare to face the Hatters for the first time since 2008. Grabban, the Reds’ top scorer this season, hasn’t found the back of the net since the end of September when he scored the decisive goal away at struggling Stoke City.
Luton Town have made a steady start to their Championship campaign after winning promotion from League One as Champions. The Hatters, like Forest, have also suffered two league losses in a row including a close home defeat at the hands of Birmingham City last weekend.
So far, Luton have managed just two league victories at home in their first season in the Championship for twelve years. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Hatters with striker Harry Cornick already notching up five goals this campaign.
“We are just two points from second place. We don’t need to change many things, just be more consistent” – Sabri Lamouchi
However, Saturday’s hosts have struggled keeping the ball out of the net. Goalkeeper Simon Sluga was Luton’s record signing when he joined in the summer. However, after a series of poor performances, including accidentally knocking the ball into his own net against Forest’s Midlands rivals Derby County, the Croatian has been dropped in favour of long-time Hatter James Shea.
Midfielder Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu scored his first goal of the season in Luton’s win against high-flying Bristol City earlier this month. The English midfielder has now scored in every season since joining the Hatters in 2013 and is the only remaining member of the Luton team that achieved promotion back to the Football League later that season; notching two more promotions since.
As with any team at Championship level, Luton won’t be a pushover and Forest will need to approach this game with caution. Their last away defeat at Wigan a fortnight ago demonstrates that expecting results against ‘weaker’ teams can be costly.
Though they haven’t been helped by injuries and with many important players still yet to make their return, Lamouchi will need to avoid making too many changes, even with an East Midlands Derby next weekend.
If the Reds can recapture their form of last month and carry it through the next two games and into the international break, they will be well poised to continue their bid for promotion.
2008: Nathan Tyson scored the deciding goal in a 1-0 win at the City Ground when the sides last met in League One. Forest went on to secure promotion to the Championship whilst Luton were relegated in last place.