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In opposition: Nottingham Forest v Barnsley

17 April 2013

It is Play-Off chasers against relegation battlers in the npower Championship at the City Ground on Satuday, with Nottingham Forest hosting Barnsley.

Billy Davies' Forest are just a point away from the top six, while David Flitcroft's Tykes are a point adrift of safety, thus proving just how significant this match is at either end of the table.

Here, we preview the game with the help of a supporter from each club.


Name: Sean Hickling.

Club: Nottingham Forest.

Number of years as a supporter: I first started supporting Forest in 1976/77, purely because my friend supported them. I had to wait until 1980 before attending my first match, which was against Leicester City in the old Division 1 at the City Ground. Forest won 5-0. What a game. I was only 10.

Favourite moment as a fan: Winning the European Cup for the first time in '79. Of course, I wasn't at the match but the memory of watching the final on TV is one of the stand-out moments of my childhood. Also, having my photo taken with my grubby little paws holding onto the European Cup during the following season.

How many games a season do you attend? As a season ticket holder, I attend all home matches. I get to as many away games as I can. Unfortunately, finances have seriously limited away days this season - only five so far. Hopefully I will make it down to Millwall. So, that's 26 in total up to now.

Where do you sit? Trent End Lower, T8.

Name: Christopher Brown.

Club: Barnsley.

Number of years as a supporter: I began following Barnsley midway through the 96/97 season and became a season ticket holder on our promotion to the Premier League for the 97/98 season.

Favourite moment as a fan: On the 3rd December 2011 we travelled to London Road to play Peterborough United.

I appreciate that this may appear a strange choice considering our Premier League season of 97/98, promotion from League 1 via the Play-Offs in 05/06 and FA Cup victories over Liverpool and Chelsea in 07/08, however, it is a game that will live long in the memory of any Barnsley supporter who attended the game.

Confidence was high as a result of successive wins against Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers and we took a deserved lead through a deflected Jim O'Brien effort on 17 minutes, and then doubled our lead on the brink of half-time as Jacob Butterfield found the top corner.

After the restart we carried on where we left off and Ricardo Vaz Te cut inside from the left wing and unleashed an unstoppable drive to make it 3-0. Our joy was short lived as Darren Ferguson made a triple substitution on 60 minutes and Peterborough responded with three goals in the space of six second-half minutes.

All appeared lost, we were being completely overrun and the home crowd sensed an unlikely victory was on the cards. However, with 10 minutes remaining Daniel Drinkwater found Craig Davies who drilled a first time half-volley high into the net to seal a remarkable victory. The terrace erupted and the celebrations were like none I had ever witnessed as a Barnsley supporter.

How many games a season do you attend? As a season ticket holder at Oakwell, I attend every home game. I also make an effort to travel away from home wherever possible. This season I have been fortunate enough to attend 10 away games and have acquired tickets for Nottingham Forest on Saturday and our final game of the season away to Huddersfield Town.

Where do you sit? I sit at the halfway line in the West Stand Lower Tier.



What happened in your last match?

SH: A damaging loss against a Middlesbrough side we really should have beaten. The pressure of expectation seems to have taken its toll on some of the players.

CB: We were held at home by Derby County. Chris O'Grady's volley had given us the lead early in the second half following fine work from Tomasz Cywka and debutant Andrai Jones, but Paul Coutts broke Barnsley hearts as he snatched a point for Derby in the 90th minute.

The result sees us occupy 23rd position, one point inside the drop zone with three league games remaining. We will have to wait and see whether the result proves to be one point gained rather than two points lost but I couldn't fault the players who were magnificent throughout, especially when you consider the extent to which our squad has been decimated through injuries and suspensions to key players at such a pivotal time.

Why is this game important?

SH: We desperately need three points if we are to stand any chance of getting into the Play-Off places at the end of the season. Two months ago, we were looking at a mid-table finish but our great performances after Billy Davies arrived have raised expectations.

CB: We're second from bottom, one point inside the drop zone with three games remaining so Saturday's game is incredibly important in our fight to retain our Championship status.

I think that six points from a possible nine will see us safe and a win on Saturday against Nottingham Forest will go a long way to securing that aim, especially with a winnable home game against Hull City next up.

How do you see this match going?

SH: With us trying to reach the Play-Offs and Barnsley desperately trying to avoid relegation, I think it's going to be a tense affair but I am positive we can get the result we need.

CB: We have improved immensely under the guidance of David Flitcroft, Micky Mellon and Martin Scott and I thoroughly expect Nottingham Forest to encounter a dramatically different Barnsley side to the one that they easily swept aside at Oakwell back in October.

Tom Kennedy has been a revelation since he entered the starting XI and having him back from suspension on Saturday is a massive boost to an otherwise depleted backline. I'm expecting to see lots of passion and energy from the players and I think that we'll have enough to come away with all three points.

Who should we keep our eye on?

SH: Our goalkeeper Karl Darlow. He has been superb since becoming first-choice after the departure of Lee Camp. He has such a command of his area and instils confidence in the back four. Remarkable considering his age.

CB: Jacob Mellis - A product of the Chelsea youth system who has matured into a sensational creative midfielder and one of the stand-out players in the Championship. Mellis has been a fantastic addition to our squad and his impeccable touch, vision and creative spark gives a great balance to our otherwise industrious midfield. On his day he can be the difference and it won't be long until he is plying his trade in the Premier League.

Any memories of previous encounters?

SH: Our spectacular 4-1 win against them at Oakwell earlier this season.

CB: There is always a brilliant atmosphere whenever Barnsley meet Nottingham Forest, irrespective of whether the game is being staged at the City Ground or at Oakwell.

We last met on 27th October and deservedly led through former Nottingham Forest striker Marlon Harewood until the away side rallied and scored three times in the final 10 minutes of the first half. We never recovered from such a ridiculous period of play and eventually lost the game 4-1.

Score prediction?

SH: I never predict the score of Forest's games. I don't want to jinx them!

CB: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Barnsley.

For all the latest news on Nottingham Forest please click here

For all the latest news on Barnsley please click here

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