At Nottingham Forest, the business end of the season and changes to starting eleven

There is something nice about the Championship and it's that we have so many games. Every team has to play them so every team gets as tired. And tonight is one of those nights and it's a big one tonight because we so desperately need to win.

Is desperate the right word? It probably isn't but a win tonight could put us within touching distance of top six and if we're within touching distance of top six with so many games to go, I'd not bet against us. And if we can finish in the top six, I'd fancy our chances are as good as any other side.


But this is very much the business end of the season and it's now that the best teams will win week in week out and confirm their position. It's when if you want to be taken seriously, you have to get the results and most importantly start to put in the performances. I think we have the last two times out and I think we can tonight also.

I'm not going to write that I think we will. I hope we do and it will be nice if we do, but if we do, it's what is expected, so I'm not going to get overly optimistic, because there is still a long way to go. But I don't think there are teams better placed than us, squad wise, to be able to make a late challenge.

And talking about the squad, I don't think the same team that started last time out will start tonight. I think we're going to see McGinn start and I wouldn't be surprised to see Green start also. It's just a hunch, but you all know I'm a fan of both. But team news comes later. I'll be back then.

Match facts from the BBC

  • Nottingham Forest have won one of their past 13 matches against Aston Villa in all competitions, a 2-1 win in February 2017.
  • Villa are looking to win consecutive league matches away at Forest for the first time since January 1995.
  • Forest have won each of their previous four home league games under Martin O'Neill. The last time the Northern Irishman won five such games in a row was in April 1995 in the third tier with Wycombe Wanderers.
  • Aston Villa have won consecutive league games for the first time since November (three in a row).
  • Former Villa boss Martin O'Neill has lost just one of his 12 matches against his old club in all competitions as a manager, most recently in November 2012, a 1-0 defeat with Sunderland.
  • Villa striker Tammy Abraham has scored five Championship goals in three appearances against Forest, of which four came in the 5-5 draw in November.

Highlights from earlier this season