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Heading into Saturday’s encounter in Yorkshire, Steve Cooper would have had doubts over whether Forest had lost some of their momentum having ended the regular campaign with two away fixtures without success.
However, the club’s head coach need not have worried as Jack Colback and Brennan Johnson scored the goals to give Forest the advantage ahead of Tuesday’s mammoth showdown in the East Midlands.
Sander Berge‘s effort in added-on time has kept this tie very much alive, but Forest will be more than satisfied that they are returning to their fortress with a lead.
As it stands, their home winning streak stands at seven matches, scoring a total of 22 goals in the process, and they are statistics which highlight the size of the task in front of Sheffield United.
Johnson’s 71st-minute goal at the weekend has taken him to 17 strikes for the Championship this campaign, the Wales international having previously gone four games without finding the back of the net before his late penalty versus Hull City on the final day.
Forest were boosted at the weekend as Keinan Davis made his return from a hamstring injury, getting over quarter-of-an-hour under his belt.
However, the Aston Villa loanee will remain on the substitutes’ bench with Cooper almost certainly sticking with the same side from Saturday.
Lewis Grabban is out for the rest of the season and Max Lowe, who has also been injured, is unable to face his parent club.
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While Heckingbottom will also make minimal alterations to his Sheffield United XI, he may take the opportunity to bring in George Baldo keep at right wing-back.
The back three is expected to stay the same, but veteran forward Sharp is unlikely to make his return from a calf injury.
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Worrall, Cook, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback; Zinckernagel; Johnson, Surridge
Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Basham, Egan, Robinson; Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; Berge; Gibbs-White, Ndiaye