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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Fired-up Forest can avoid defeat at hopeless Hull

Oldham vulnerable despite takeover

Aitor Karanka has had unwavering backing from Forest owner Evangelos Makrinakis
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FA Cup & English Football League
3pm Saturday

Hull v Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest's fans are looking to take over the Kcom in their FA Cup fourth-round tie and the large travelling support can be rewarded with a positive result against Hull.

Forest are certainly up for the cup - they beat Arsenal 4-2 in the last round and they will be backed in vast numbers - something which cannot be said for hosts Hull despite their decision to reduce ticket prices.

The mood around the two clubs is totally different. Forest have been lifted by the Arsenal result as well as Aitor Karanka's arrival as manager. The Spaniard guided the Tricky Trees to a deserved 2-0 success at Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves last time out.

Sitting in mid-table means Karanka does not need to be overly concerned by Tuesday's league clash with Preston, unlike relegation-threatened Hull, who host Leeds on the same night.

Successive relegations could be on the cards for Nigel Adkins' Hull side, who are on a run of one win in 14 league encounters and have failed to score in six of those last seven fixtures.

Young Jarrod Bowen has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise shocking season but Forest have plenty of their own players with potential to make names for themselves in the future.

Everton loanee Kieran Dowell scored a hat-trick when Forest won 3-2 at Hull in October, while forward Ben Brereton terrorised Arsenal in round three.

Big things are expected of centre-back Joe Worrall and it's debatable as to whether home advantage will be worth as much as the odds suggest.

Nottingham Forest draw no bet
1pt 13-10 Betfair

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Sky Bet Championship standings

Oldham v Plymouth
The lengthy talks over Oldham's takeover finally ended with the completion of a deal on Friday but the saga had had a detrimental impact on their season and Athletic will need to strengthen quickly.

Oldham showed signs of real promise in October and November as new manager Richie Wellens produced excellent results, but a 4-1 defeat at Plymouth just before Christmas was the catalyst for a dreadful run in League One.

In total, Oldham have won one of their last 12 league games despite bringing loan stars Jack Byrne (now signed permanently) and Kean Bryan back to the club.

Unfortunately, 12-goal top goalscorer Eoin Doyle is no longer around and Oldham lack attacking punch and it may take time for new recruit Duckens Nazon to find his best form.

They also lack centre-backs after Anthony Gerrard was injured in last week's 3-0 defeat at Peterborough and replacement George Edmundson was sent off in the same game.

A late loss at Shrewsbury in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday won't have helped raise morale and Wellens needs to find new players to give the club a boost.

Plymouth suffered their first defeat in nine against leaders Wigan last time out but competed well and a repeat performance should see them avoid defeat at Boundary Park.

Plymouth or draw double chance
1pt 5-6 general

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Ladbrokes League One standings

Blackpool v Charlton
Poor runs don't go on forever but Blackpool's sequence of one win in 14 suggests they could be heading towards a relegation fight, whereas Charlton have the playoffs in their sights.

Blackpool have not scored in four while Charlton have won three league games on the spin, are getting players back from injury and also using the sale of Ricky Holmes to bolster the squad.

Charlton draw no bet
1pt 11-10 general

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Ladbrokes League One standings

Plays of the day

Inter 4-6
It's been a bad spell for Inter, who are winless in eight, but recent performances have not been anywhere near as bad as that suggests and the former Serie A leaders should be too strong for Spal. 

Carlisle 4-5
The League Two table says Forest Green are 23rd but the recent squad investment should help them fight off relegation and this is a tricky clash for hosts Carlisle.

Juventus 4-11, Inter 4-6, Sevilla 8-15 Sky Bet

Both teams to score
Doncaster 4-5, Southend 4-5, Cheltenham 4-5 Betfair

Thought for the week

Jimmy Armfield's death this week made me remember just how much football on the radio has been part of my life from a really young age and what a wonderful form of entertainment it is.

I knew nothing of Armfield's own football career with Blackpool and England; I just knew him as the greatest co-commentator there has ever been on radio, with Graham Taylor and David Pleat next in line.

Armfield had a beautiful way of describing the action that was a world apart from some of the current rent-a-gobs who talk over the commentator or look to be controversial for the sake of it.

He was excitable when required and kept quiet when there was nothing to say. Whatever he said was always informative and, while I shall always listen to football on the radio, it will never quite be the same without Armfield around. 

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Forest have plenty of their own players with potential to make names for themselves in the future
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