Sheffield United sent a warning by Nottingham Forest star Brennan Johnson ahead of play-off semi-final

A player stating they are going to treat a big match ‘the same way’ as they normally do is something of a cliche when it comes to matchday build-ups.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:35 am

However, given the form that Nottingham Forest have been in over the past few months, that statement serves as an ominious warning to Sheffield United ahead of Saturday’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg at Bramall Lane.

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Forest have lost just three times in the league since the turn of the year – to Cardiff, Luton Town and, more critically, Bournemouth – and their display when they last came to S2, which ended in a 1-1 draw, led to them being widely regarded as the best team to come to the Lane this season.

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One of the key factors in that incredible run under Steve Cooper which, akin to Paul Heckingbottom and the Blades, saw the manager come in and drag the team from near the bottom of the table under Chris Hughton to promotion contenders, has been the form of Brennan Johnson.

The 20-year-old winger – embarrassed by a Wes Foderingham penalty save in that match back in March – has otherwise been a stand-out performer under Cooper and he says Forest aren’t going to deviate from the way they have played throughout the majority of a campaign that saw them, in the end, just fall short of an automatic promotion place after losing to the Cherries in the penultimate game of the regular season.

"The mood has been really positive,” said Johnson. “Everyone's just really excited and focused to play well on Saturday.

Nottingham Forest star Brennan Johnson says he and his team mates will play the same way they have all season when they take on Sheffield United on Saturday

"We all know it's a big game and bigger than just a normal league game, but we've got to approach it the same way we approach a league game.

"We never come away from what we do, we always want to play in the style we play, so there's no point coming away from that as we are best at playing that way.

"Against any team, we've wanted to play our football and attack them. That's the attitude we've had all season, so everyone's ready and raring to go.”

Brennan Johnson of Nottingham Forest challenged by Morgan Gibbs-White of Sheffield United during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane. Andrew Yates / Sportimage