Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 13/01/18 4:32pm
Aitor Karanka will take charge of Nottingham Forest for the first time on Saturday when Aston Villa visit the City Ground, live on Sky Sports Football from 5.15pm.
The former Middlesbrough boss, appointed as Mark Warburton's permanent successor this week, will check on the fitness of Daryl Murphy. The seven-goal striker has missed the last two matches with a knock sustained during the defeat to his former club Sunderland on December 30.
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Karanka will be forced to make one change to the team that started last weekend's FA Cup win over Arsenal with Joe Worrall suspended following his late red card against the Gunners. Matt Mills was back in the squad for that third round tie after an injury absence and he could replace Worrall in central defence.
Aston Villa remain without Jonathan Kodjia (ankle) and Chris Samba (hamstring) for the trip. Striker Scott Hogan, who scored his first Championship goal for the club against Bristol City on New Year's Day, is touch and go with an ankle problem.
Andre Green and Henri Lansbury both played 45 minutes in the 3-1 defeat to Peterborough in the FA Cup and could be involved in the squad. Gabby Agbonlahor has not played since suffering an ankle injury against Sheffield United before Christmas.
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Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in four home league games against Villa (W1 D3) since losing 2-1 in the Premier League in January 1995.
The Villans haven't achieved a league double over Forest since the 1992/93 Premier League campaign, and won 2-1 at Villa Park earlier this season.
Forest have failed to find the net in each of their last three league matches, last enduring a longer run in December 2011 (a run of seven without scoring).
Robert Snodgrass has had a hand in nine goals in his last 12 league appearances for Villa (four goals, five assists) - he also scored and assisted in his only previous league match at the City Ground for Leeds in November 2011.
Forest have played seven matches against the current top six in the Championship this season and collected just one point (P7 W0 D1 L6).
Aston Villa haven't won their opening two league matches in a calendar year since 2009.
Once again the two former European champions meet in the second tier, which just goes to show the size of some of the clubs in the Sky Bet Championship these days.
Aitor Karanka will be taking charge of a Forest side that should be riding high after that victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup and I fancy them to sneak a narrow win here.
Prutton predicts: 1-0 with Kieran Dowell to score (30/1 with Sky Bet)