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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Forest may struggle to replicate cup heroics against Aston Villa

Steve Bruce's boys looks promotion contenders

Kieran Dowell of Nottingham Forest celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal from the penalty spot
1 of 1

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Punters would love to know which Nottingham Forest is going to turn up at the City Ground against Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

Will it be the Forest who threw in a pair of home howlers against Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland in late December, losing both without scoring? Or the side who, just a week later, chinned Arsenal in the FA Cup?

By any measure that’s one hell of a turnaround, although it could also suggest that the Arsenal success was little more than a blip.

What it does mean is that new boss Aitor Karanka has inherited a side who must be feeling better about themselves, though Villa still get the nod.

Steve Bruce made ten changes against Peterborough in the FA Cup last week and perhaps unsurprisingly saw his team beaten.

Before that, however, they’d won 1-0 at Middlesbrough and crushed Bristol City 5-0, results which tell us far more about Villa as promotion candidates.

Karanka, who led Boro to promotion but was regarded as something of a control freak with a conservative approach, needs to shore up a defence who have conceded 53 goals in all competitions. Only Birmingham have lost more Sky Bet Championship games than the Reds.

That’s probably not going to happen overnight. Villa’s pace could expose those frailties, so back Bruce’s boys to complete the double over Forest.

Aston Villa
1pt 6-4 general

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Team news
Nottingham Forest
Defender Joe Worrall is suspended. Captain Chris Cohen and Jack Hobbs are out while Tendayi Darikwa, Liam Bridcutt and Daryl Murphy are doubts.

Aston Villa
Jonathan Kodjia and Chris Samba are out. Scott Hogan has overcome an ankle injury but John Terry and Mile Jedinak are doubts.

Key stat
Forest haven’t drawn any of their last 19 home games. 

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Steve Bruce made ten changes against Peterborough in the FA Cup last week and perhaps unsurprisingly saw his team beaten
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