Get set for a cup fi­nal, says Reds boss Mark

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS - By Char­lie Peat

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.”

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