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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Exciting Forest can ramp up the pressure on Wednesday

Owls boss feeling the heat

Ben Brereton celebrates a goal for Forest
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football/Main Event, 5.30pm Saturday

Sheffield Wednesday have not been living up to expectations at the start of the Sky Bet Championship season and the pressure on manager Carlos Carvalhal could increase if they fail to see off Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough.

The Owls are odds-on to take the points but have been expensive to follow this season, winning just one of five league games despite being favourites to win four of them.

Their only league victory was a 1-0 success at Fulham – the only time this season they have started a match as outsiders.

Patience among the supporters is wearing thin and results need to improve if Carvalhal, the third-longest serving manager in the division, is to retain the board's full confidence.

Plenty of investment has been made with the clear aim of delivering promotion but Wednesday have struggled to make progress since losing the 2016 playoff final.

They reached the playoffs again last season before losing a semi-final penalty shootout to Huddersfield and have lost a lot of early ground this term.

Injuries to key players are not helping.

Combative midfielder Sam Hutchinson and experienced centre-back Glenn Loovens have been sidelined for a month since picking up injuries in the 1-1 draw at QPR and lively attacker Fernando Forestieri has not started since the 1-0 loss at Preston on the opening weekend of the season.

Wednesday have struggled to get into a rhythm and signed off for the recent international break with an unconvincing 1-1 draw at struggling Burton.

They desperately need a victory to kickstart their season but it won't be easy against Forest, who are making encouraging progress with the help of their new owner – Greek businessman Evangelos Marinakis.

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After a busy summer in the transfer market, Forest have emerged as an exciting, attack-minded team who look a world away from the side who struggled so much last season.

They still have a lot to learn, as could be seen by their televised 2-0 loss at home to Leeds last time out, but there is a positive feeling among the supporters which hasn't been there for several years.

Forest are playing some entertaining football – only to be expected from a side managed by Mark Warburton – and have already raised a few eyebrows with an EFL Cup second-round win at Newcastle.

They have a plum third-round tie at Chelsea to look forward to but Warburton has promised to keep his players focused on the three league games in between and he can start by leading them to a positive result in south Yorkshire.

Nottingham Forest or draw double chance
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Team news
Sheffield Wednesday
Glenn Loovens (hip) is out and Fernando Forestieri (knee), Barry Bannan (foot) and Steven Fletcher (knee) are doubts. New arrivals Jacob Butterfield and Joost Van Aken could be involved and Keiren Westwood (knee) should stay between the sticks.

Nottingham Forest
On-loan goalkeeper Adam Federici sustained an injury while on international duty with Australia and has gone back to Bournemouth for treatment. Chris Cohen has undergone knee surgery and joins David Vaughan (groin), Matty Cash (ankle) and Jamie Ward (calf) on the sidelines.

Key stat
Sheffield Wednesday have won just one of their last six Championship matches.

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After a busy summer in the transfer market, Forest have emerged as an exciting, attack-minded team
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