clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Key Battles: Nottingham Forest v Reading FC

Here are the key battles as Reading face Nottingham Forest knowing a win will secure their place in the play-offs

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Can this man keep up his impressive form.

Britt Assombalonga vs Liam Moore

Assombalonga arrived from Peterborough for a reported fee of £5.5 million, is the Reds' first choice striker, and yet almost missed the whole of last season due to a serious knee injury. However the striker has bounced back from that injury with 10 goals in 29 appearances put him at the top of the Reds’ goal-scoring charts.

The 24-year-old also has a bit of history against Reading having scored in Nottingham Forest's 4-0 win over the Royals back in August 2014.

With the Royals picking up six points in the space of 48 hours over the Easter weekend, Jaap Stam will probably stick with the same back four that started the win against Rotherham on Easter Monday.

Liam Moore will therefore looking to continue his impressive form in recent games.

The centre-back put in an solid performance against Aston Villa and will be looking to repeat that when he squares off against Assombalonga. Moore has been a key player this season and his experience will be needed if the Royals are to leave the City Ground with a win.

The battle could be fascinating and hard fought throughout the 90 minutes with three points securing the Royals' place in the play-offs and Forest needing points to keep themselves above the relegation zone.

In this huge game for both sides, the player who wins this battle could make a huge difference in where his team finishes comes the end of the season.

Ben Osborn vs Chris Gunter

The 22-year-old who came through the club's academy is one of Nottingham Forest's best players and could be a player that the Reading need to keep an eye on. Playing on either side of midfield, Osborn is one of the best young players around with superb technique, pace, skill, and the ability to create something out of nothing.

Last season Osborn got three goals and five assists in 36 appearances, but despite his talents, his side finished a disappointing 16th in the division. He's got good history against the Royals, scoring in last season's 2-1 defeat and netting a stunner the year before in a 3-0 win both games that were played at the Madjeski.

You can see footage of that stunning goal, in the video below.

Osborn is also the Reds’ most creative players this season with six assists and four goals on top of that. Meaning the Reading defence will need to mark him tightly and stop him from pulling the strings in his side's favour.

Looking to cause frustration for Osborn will be Chris Gunter. The Welshman has played every league game so far this season for the Royals whilst putting in some impressive performances in recent games, in which he got the assist for John Swift's winner over Rotherham.

With Osborn playing on the left, on the right or down the middle, it could also be Jordan Obita or Danny Williams facing up to him, and if you need another demonstration of his talents, here's Osborn scoring another stunning goal in their 2-1 win at Derby during the 2014/15 season.

Dani Pinilos vs Garath McCleary

The final key battle of this important game for both sides sees Dani Pinilos face Garath McCleary in a duel down Forest's left flank. Like Jordan Obita for Reading, the Spaniard loves to get forward.

However Pinilos has been part of a Forest defence that has conceded 68 goals, only Rotherham (96) have conceded more in the Championship. Looking to take advantage of this will be Garath McCleary.

The winger has lacked a bit of confidence in recent weeks, but he did get the assist for Lewis Grabban's goal in the 2-1 win over Rotherham last time out.

With Pinilos only making 14 appearances this season because of a knee injury, the Royals' Jamaican star will need to take advantage of the left-back's lack of experience in playing Championship football.

If McCleary can deliver a performance that has seen him become one of Reading's best players this season. Then it could be the difference between the visitors getting the win to secure their play-off place and having to wait next week.

However, with McCleary returning to the City Ground and Forest fighting for their lives down at the foot of the table, the winger could have a tough afternoon ahead of him.