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Nottingham Forest vs Wolves predictions: Improving rivals to produce thriller
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Dan Sait
Steve Cooper may have been embarrassed by Blackpool but Forest can respond against Wolves in a high-scoring affair
Steve Cooper may have been embarrassed by Blackpool but Forest can respond against Wolves in a high-scoring affair

- Forest are unbeaten in six home games, beating Tottenham and Liverpool in that run 
- Wolves have improved under Julen Lopetegui, rediscovering their shooting boots 
- Recommended bet: Back over 2.5 goals

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper was understandably annoyed by his team’s display in Saturday’s FA Cup loss to Blackpool, but that embarrassing 4-1 defeat could inspire a much-improved performance against Wolves in the Carabao Cup.

Both clubs will be more focused on Premier League survival than cup glory but with Forest’s fixture list clearing up and the second-string letting him down last weekend, Cooper might field a stronger team than expected against Wolves.

Wolves arrive on the back of an impressive display at Anfield that arguably deserved to see them edge past Liverpool into the FA Cup fourth round, rather than settle for a 2-2 draw.

However, the cup replay earned on Merseyside means Wanderers now have four games within the space of just 12 days and new manager Julen Lopetegui may decide that the League Cup is more of a distraction than a priority.

Team news

Forest manager Cooper has a lengthy injury list to contend with, with as many as seven players potentially unavailable.

Right-back Neco Williams is a doubt after coming off with a knock against Blackpool, while fellow defenders Moussa Niakhate and Omar Richards remain unavailable and Giulian Biancone is out for the season.

Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and Jesse Lingard both face several weeks out with hamstrung injuries and attacker Taiwo Awoniyi will face a late fitness check.

Wolves winger Daniel Podence had to come off at half-time against Aston Villa last Wednesday and is a doubt for this trip to the City Ground.

He joins long-term injury absentees Chiquinho, Sasa Kalajdzic and Pedro Neto on the sidelines, with none of the three attackers due back this month.

Lopetegui also lost Boubacar Traore to a groin injury last week and will be without the midfielder for a significant spell.

The stats

While Nottingham Forest were desperately poor at Blackpool, Cooper made 11 changes for that match and none of his first-choice players started. 

And the difference in quality between Cooper’s reserves and his first XI is highlighted by the fact that prior to the defeat at Blackpool, Forest had lost only to Manchester United and Arsenal in 10 competitive outings.

During that 10-match run, Forest were unbeaten at home, beating Liverpool, Tottenham and Crystal Palace at the City Ground as well as drawing against Chelsea and Brentford. 

Cooper’s men also picked up wins at Southampton and Blackburn during that time, while drawing at Brighton.

However, Wolves have also enjoyed an improvement in results, with Lopetegui galvanising a previously struggling squad.

Wolves went into the World Cup break having lost seven and winning just two of the preceding 10 matches but Lopetegui has transformed their fortunes.

Wanderers have lost only one of five matches under the Spaniard — a narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester United — and have drawn away at Liverpool and Aston Villa while beating Everton and Gillingham.

Wolves have lost only one game since Julen Lopetegui took charge
Wolves have lost only one game since Julen Lopetegui took charge


This should be an intriguing clash as it pits two struggling but improving Premier League teams against one another.

There will be conflicting theories about the benefits of resting players versus the importance of building momentum to carry into their survival fight. 

However, Lopetegui may feel his hand has been forced due to both the number of attacking injuries his squad is carrying and the number of games coming up in quick succession for Wolves.

That should give Forest the edge and adding the home win to a Bet Builder selection seems a solid approach.

Steve Cooper is focused on league survival but will want to show that the Blackpool display was just a blip and while he changed all 11 players in the FA Cup, it is notable that he fielded almost full-strength teams in previous rounds of the League Cup.

And while that, along with Forest’s impressive home form, should lead to a Forest victory, a safer route to take in this match is to back a high-scoring encounter.

Wolves have been more attacking under Lopetegui, netting seven goals in five games since he arrived, but have kept only one clean sheet — and that came against League Two Gillingham at Molineux.

Forest have scored in seven of their last eight outings but have kept only one clean sheet since the World Cup, so go for over 2.5 goals, which is available at 6/5 with LiveScore Bet.


Nottingham ForestWolverhampton WanderersLeague Cup
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