Tricky Trees to squeeze through to the quarter finals

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Nottingham Forest vs Huddersfield
Monday March 7, 19:30
Live on ITV4 and ITV Hub

Huge incentive for both teams

Ordinarily this Monday night FA Cup clash may be viewed as an unwelcome distraction for two play-off chasing sides in the Championship, however, the prospect of hosting Liverpool in the next round should help to ensure that this game is played at full throttle.

Although Huddersfield fans will be licking their lips at the thought of Jurgen Klopp’s side arriving at the John Smith’s Stadium, it’s Forest boss Steve Cooper who potentially has the greater incentive on Monday. The former Liverpool youth coach, who was academy manager at the Merseyside club between 2011 and 2014, will be relishing the opportunity to knock his former employers out of the competition.

Squad Depth may be required

Although this game will undoubtedly be taken seriously by both managers, we can expect a handful of changes for each team. The battle for promotion to the Premier League is hotting up and with both QPR and Fulham on the horizon, Cooper may opt to freshen things up on Monday night.

Alex Mighten’s minutes have been limited this season and he may be given a chance to impress, whereas fringe players Sam Surridge and Joe Lolley may also play a role. Max Lowe, who was ineligible for Friday night’s clash at Bramall Lane is also likely to come back into the XI.

Although Huddersfield’s squad is slightly smaller, they still have plenty of options and both Carel Eiting and Josh Ruffels will be hoping to figure. Jordan Rhodes started against Birmingham ten days ago and the striker may be given the nod ahead of the impressive Danny Ward. Tino Anjorin could also be given a spot on the bench with the Chelsea loanee having yet to feature since arriving in West Yorkshire.

Two well-organised defences look set to dominate

There is very little between these two sides with the Terriers having left the City Ground with all three points fairly recently. Both meetings between these teams this season have been low-scoring affairs and with so much at stake, neither coach is likely to take too many chances.

Forest possess the Championship’s fourth sternest defence, whereas Huddersfield have kept a clean sheet in four of their last six outings. At 1.728/11 on the Exchange, backing Under 2.5 Goals appears to be a sensible option.

However, Cooper’s ability to make important mid-match tweaks and his quick thinking may give the hosts a slight advantage. The former Swansea boss has already masterminded victories over Arsenal and Leicester and the prospect of standing alongside Jurgen Klopp on touchline at the City Ground may just tip the balance in favour of the two-time European Champions.

Nottingham Forest can be backed at 2.0621/20 to win in 90 minutes and with another bumper crowd creating a cauldron of noise, the home side should be able to squeeze past their promotion rivals, but it’s unlikely to be a straightforward task.