Nottingham Forest vs Fulham @ The City Ground
September 17 – 19.45 BST
Fulham go to Nottingham Forest’s City Ground tonight bottom of the Championship and yet to win a league game this season.
Manager Felix Magath is under severe pressure, but while Fulham’s supporters’ patience has well and truly expired chairman Shahid Khan has been quiet on the manager’s future – despite multiple reports the German could be sacked if his side fail to beat Forest.
The 61-year-old former Bayern Munich manager has struggled to explain his side’s poor form.
“I have never had this in my career before and would never imagine that such things can happen,” he said after Saturday’s defeat to Reading.
Hardly inspiring words given Fulham haven’t won a league game for more than 150 days.
In stark contrast Stuart Pearce has got his unbeaten Forest side playing with style.
Pearce will be disappointed his side couldn’t hold on for all three points in Sunday’s East Midland’s derby with Derby, with Ryan Shotton’s late goal cancelling out record-signing Britt Assombalonga’s fifth goal of the season.
Forest have bought shrewdly with the likes of Assombalonga, Michail Antonio and Michael Mancienne settling in quickly.
However Forest will be without their captain Chris Cohen, who injured his knee against Derby, while Andy Reid is also doubtful with a groin injury.
Fulham will have to cope without new signing Matt Smith, who begins the first of his three-match ban following a debut dismissal against Reading.
Adam Taggart is still out with a back injury, but Magath has no new injury concerns for tonight’s crucial encounter.
The sides haven’t met since November 2004, when Fulham ran out 4-2 winners.
Referee: Darren Deadman
Key Clash: Britt Assombalonga vs Nikolay Bodurov
Britt Assombalonga has silenced any critics who doubted his ability to score goals at a higher level, following a move from Peterborough to Nottingham Forest, for a club-record fee.
The former Watford striker has notched five league goals in his first appearances, following a goal-laden campaign in League One with The Posh.
The previous bearer of the transfer record was Pierre van Hooijdonk, so the 21-year-old had big shoes to fill, but that doesn’t looked to have fazed the powerful striker.
In charge of keeping Assombalonga quiet will be Nikolay Bodurov, a new arrival at Craven Cottage after signing from Litex Lovech.
Playing in front of three different keepers in the first six league games won’t have been easy for the 28-year-old Bulgarian, but he has handled himself with poise that his team-mates would do well to replicate.
Strong in the challenge and composed in possession, Bodurov looks capable of playing at a higher level than the Championship, but he will have his work cut out keeping Assombalonga under wraps.
Picture courtesy of The Stadium Guide, with thanks