Sheffield United: Everything you need to know about this weekend's opponents Nottingham Forest

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The Blades go into Saturday's home match with Nottingham Forest just two points off the play-off places.

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Forest are the ideal opposition as the league approaches the home straight, equidistant between the relegation places and play-offs spots with no chance of being involved in either.

The Blades suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat at Forest earlier in the season

The Blades suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat at Forest earlier in the season

Thoughts will already have switched to next season and putting a plan in place for a successful campaign. It is a situation which should play into the hands of Sheffield United.

Here's the full lowdown on tomorrow's opponents:

Manager

It wouldn't be a Championship season without managerial upheaval at the City Ground. Forest have had 13 permanent managers since 2008 with Aitor Karanka the latest to try his hand at lifting the two-time European Cup winners back to the Premier League for the first time this millennium.

The Basque manager knows all about the division having led Middlesbrough to the Premier League in 2016 which followed losing out in the play-offs the previous season. He was sacked as Boro boss for a somewhat negative style of play as the team slipped closer to relegation.

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One to watch

Signed from Huddersfield Town in January, Joe Lolley has been a shrewd addition for the Reds. In seven games he has netted twice and provided two assists, providing both a goal and creative threat from wide. He is a strong dribbler and a threat from distance, while he has the ability to drift in field and provide penetrative passes. He works diligently out of possession as well.

Formation

Karanka prefers a robust and stodgy 4-2-3-1 system. Play is patient with a lot of short passes. Once Forest get a lead it is can be very hard to unpick the defence.

Injury table

Jack Hobbs could return to the squad after missing most of the season. The only injury concerns Forest have is midfielder David Vaughan and experienced Iranian international Ashkan Dejagah.

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Previous meeting

The teams met on 30 September when Forest were victors. The Blades took an early lead through John Lundstram but by just over the 20 minute mark they were trailing 2-1, and it would finish that way.

Form

Forest haven't lost in six matches which suggests they are making progress under Karanka. However four of the games have been draws and they've failed to score in three.

Stats

The Blades could get some joy in the air on Saturday. Forest have conceded the most headed goals in the league (14), while scoring the fewest (2).

What the manager is saying

"It is vital and it is important to keep a clean sheet, but also important to score goals," said Karanka. "You need to work to defend to be compact and the more work you do on the training ground, the better you can play.

"Chris (Wilder) has done an amazing job, he was manager of the season in League One last year and for a promoted team to be fighting for the play-off positions is amazing.

"We have to approach the game in the same we that we do as any other. The last six games have passed and it is all about the present. Yes, we are unbeaten, but we need to look forward and look to finish as high in the table as possible."

Odds

Sheffield United 4/5, draw 13/5, Nottingham Forest 10/3 (Bet 365)