Nottingham Forest will be bidding to avoid a fourth straight defeat in the Premier League when they continue their 2022-23 campaign at home to fellow promoted outfit Fulham on Friday night.
The Reds, who are 19th in the table, will enter this contest off the back of a 3-2 home defeat to Bournemouth, while 10th-placed Fulham suffered a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in their last match.
Forest earned promotion back to the Premier League via last season’s Championship playoffs, and they had a quite remarkable summer transfer window, bringing in 21 players in total, which broke the English record for the most arrivals in one market.
Steve Cooper’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United in their opening match of the 2022-23 season but picked up four points from their next two games, beating West Ham United before drawing at Everton.
Forest have been given a bit of a reality check in recent matches, though, losing 2-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur and 6-0 at Manchester City before suffering a 3-2 defeat to Bournemouth last time out.
The Reds were 2-0 ahead against the Cherries, with Cheikhou Kouyate and Brennan Johnson scoring in the first half, but Gary O’Neil’s side netted three times without reply in the second half, with the winner for the visitors coming in the 87th minute in Nottinghamshire.
Forest, who are 19th in the table on four points, will have to learn quickly if they are to stay in the Premier League, but they lost 4-0 to Fulham in the corresponding match last season, and the Cottagers have made an encouraging start to their 2022-23 campaign.
Fulham have been unable to secure back-to-back Premier League campaigns since 2014, finishing 19th and 18th in their last two seasons in the top flight, but there have been some positive signs this term.
Last season’s Championship winners are currently 10th in the table, having picked up eight points from their first six matches courtesy of a record of two wins, two draws and two defeats.
Marco Silva’s side drew their opening two games of the season against Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers before recording a 3-2 victory over Brentford at Craven Cottage on August 20.
Fulham have also beaten Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at home, with the victory coming either side of 2-1 defeats at Arsenal and Tottenham, and their performances in the clashes with the North London duo would have given them plenty of encouragement that they can compete at this level.
There were fears that Aleksandar Mitrovic would be unable to carry his staggering goalscoring form from last season into the Premier League, but the 27-year-old has netted six times in six outings this term, and an impressive summer transfer window has given Silva plenty of options all over the pitch.
Forest remain without the services of Orel Mangala, Moussa Niakhate and Omar Richards for Friday’s contest with Fulham.
There are no fresh injury concerns for the Reds, though, so the bulk of the side that took to the field for the first whistle against Bournemouth should continue here.
That said, head coach Cooper could make a change in the final third of the field, with Taiwo Awoniyi potentially coming in for Jesse Lingard, while Emmanuel Dennis is also pushing for a starting role in attack.
As for Fulham, Manor Solomon and Harry Wilson were both sidelined for the clash with Tottenham last time out, and the duo will also be unavailable for selection here.
Antonee Robinson had to be withdrawn in the 29th minute of the match with Spurs due to an ankle injury, so Kevin Mbabu is likely to come in for a start here.
Recent arrivals Daniel James, Willian and Carlos Vinicius all featured off the bench against Tottenham, and the trio are likely to again be among the substitutes, with Neeskens Kebano and Bobby Decordova-Reid supporting Mitrovic at centre-forward.
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Worrall, Cook, McKenna; Williams, Yates, Kouyate, Lodi; Gibbs-White; Awoniyi, Johnson
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Ream, Mbabu; Reed, Palhinha; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Kebano; Mitrovic