Get set for a cup final, says Reds boss Mark
THE City Ground must produce a cup final atmosphere for Nottingham Forest’s enormous survival showdown against Ipswich today, boss Mark Warburton has urged.
Dubbed ‘Survival Sunday’, Forest are currently locked in a three-way battle to beat the drop with Birmingham and Blackburn – the latter of whom currently occupy the final relegation spot.
The Midlands club are currently level on points with Tony Mowbray’s side and two points behind Harry Redknapp’s Blues in 20th.
Forest have beaten top-six sides Newcastle, Brighton, Reading and Huddersfield at home this season, which is why Warburton is hoping a raucous atmosphere can get his team over the line.
Warburton said: “The part the fans can play in staying with the team from the first to the last whistle is enormous because it is a tense game and will be a cup final atmosphere.”
The famous old stadium can expect a crowd close to 30,445 but even a win might not be enough to prevent the Reds dropping to League One for the first time since 2008.
A win for Birmingham at Bristol City and a Blackburn victory at Brentford by two more goals than a Forest win would see the Reds go down.
With all 12 of the Championship’s final round of fixtures kicking off at noon, scores will be coming in left, right and centre – but Warburton has told his players to focus on themselves.
“We will get feedback (on the other scores) in the dugout, but we have to just focus on ourselves, go into the game full of confidence and self-belief and get the job done,” he added.
“You don’t treat the players like fools, though. They know what is at stake for the club, for the fans and for themselves and their families.”
And Reds captain Chris Cohen is convinced a home win for his side will be enough to keep them away from the drop zone. The 30-year-old midfielder said: “I honestly believe that if we can win against Ipswich, it will be enough for us.
“Don’t go out believing that you have to win 4-0 or 5-0 from the off, because if you go too gung-ho you can get hit by a sucker punch very easily and the challenge can start to feel even bigger.”
Meanwhile, Forest’s opponents today, Ipswich, can still mathematically finish anywhere between 14th and 19th following a season that never really got going.
Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy said: “We’ve not been good enough, and certainly not at home, but let’s hope we can finish on a high and go again into the start of next season.
“To think Forest could go down is amazing really.
“They will have an edge to them but we will as well because the game is going to carry an edge.”