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Preview: Alfreton Town vs. Nottingham Forest - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Alfreton Town and Nottingham Forest, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Nottingham Forest kick off their pre-season programme with a friendly against National League North side Alfreton Town on Saturday.

The Reds will take a squad of first team and Under-23s players to the Impact Arena as Chris Hughton gets his side ready for the start of a gruelling Championship campaign.


Match preview

Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton pictured on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Hughton's side had originally planned to travel to Austria this week for a training camp and friendly with top-tier side Swarovski Tirol.

However, COVID-19 put paid to those hopes, as well as their back-up plan to head to Scotland, so instead they will stay in the Midlands and train at home.

Around 1,000 fans are being allowed into the ground, but there is real hope that Forest's Championship opener with Coventry City next month will be watched by a capacity crowd.

Before that match on August 8, the Reds have six friendly matches to get themselves up to full speed, including games with Premier League sides Burnley and Aston Villa.

Hughton will use those games as a chance to field something close to his strongest XI, but this trip to Alfreton will be a case of fielding a patched-up lineup.

Forest will be looking to improve on last season's 17th-placed finish, though they have yet to bring in any new signings, much to Hughton's dismay.

Alfreton will simply be happy to be playing football again following a disrupted 18 months or so owing to the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the lower leagues.

Andrew Clarke's side were last in action in December when drawing 3-3 with Kettering Town, making it nine games without a win.

This weekend's prestige friendly, meanwhile, will be the first time supporters have been allowed inside the Impact Arena in over 15 months.

The Reds have brought in six players so far this summer, as well as keeping the core of last term's squad together, but it will take time to integrate those newbies into the side.

After facing Forest on Saturday, Alfreton have five more friendlies ahead of taking on Blyth Spartans in their opening league game on August 14.

Alfreton Town form (last season):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Nottingham Forest form (last season):
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L


Team News

Nottingham Forest's Glenn Murray celebrates scoring their first goal on March 13, 2021© Reuters

Forest have yet to strengthen this summer and have said goodbye to Glenn Murray, who announced his retirement in May, while Sammy Ameobi is among those to have been released.

Hughton will field a hybrid XI of first-teamers and Under-23s players on Saturday, so a lot of relatively unknown players could feature at the Impact Arena.

Lewis Salmon and Billy Fewster are among those in contention to play a part after being added to the Reds' Under-23s squad this week.

As for Alfreton, experienced frontman Matt Rhead and former Wrexham captain Rob Evans are among their new recruits in contention to start.

George Cowan became the latest player to join towards the end of last month, and this seems a good chance for Clarke to ease him in.


SM words green background

We say: Alfreton Town 0-3 Nottingham Forest

Both sides are at the very early stages of their pre-season programmes, meaning that both manager will look to get minutes into as many players as possible.

Forest will name a weakened side this weekend, but we can still see their quality shining through in a routine victory against the side from Derbyshire.


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General view of Nottingham Forest's City Ground taken August 2018
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