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Since the turn of the millennium, Nottingham Forest have been consigned to second-tier football year after year, but a magnificent campaign under Steve Cooper led the Tricky Trees back to the promised land of the Premier League.

Defeating Huddersfield Town in the playoff final signalled Forest’s return to the big time after their most recent relegation in the 1998-99 season, and the survival task begins now for the powers-that-be.

It has come as little surprise to see Forest make a statement of intent in the transfer market this summer, bringing in former Liverpool forward Taiwo Awoniyi for a club-record £17.5m from Union Berlin and becoming Dean Henderson’s next loan destination.

More can be expected to follow Henderson, Awoniyi and Giulian Biancone through the door within the next few weeks, namely Mainz 05 centre-back Moussa Niakhate, and Cooper’s side will barely catch a breath in this pre-season period.

Indeed, the Tricky Trees must also face Burton Albion, Barnsley, Hertha Berlin, Union Berlin, Notts County and Valencia before July ends, building up to their first game back in the Premier League against Newcastle United on August 6.

Preview: Nott’m Forest vs. Coventry – prediction, team news, lineups

While Forest will be aiming to establish themselves back in the Premier League, Coventry City have done a sterling job of cementing their second-tier status since earning promotion from League One in 2020.

Over the course of the past five years, Mark Robins has taken the Sky Blues from the doldrums of League Two to a 12th-placed finish in the 2021-22 Championship season, which marked their best finish in the English football pyramid since placing eighth in the second tier in 2005-06.

Coventry – who last played in the Premier League under Gordon Strachan in the 2000-01 campaign – have already kicked off their pre-season with a 3-1 victory over National League North side Leamington, as Matty Godden (2) and Fabio Tavares struck in the second half following Dan Turner’s second-minute opener.

Oxford United, Walsall and Portsmouth are lying in wait for Coventry before they begin their new Championship season against Sunderland on July 30, and Robins will surely have his sights set on a top-half finish with the Sky Blues this time around.

During the 2021-22 Championship campaign, Coventry ended a three-match losing streak against Forest with a 2-1 triumph at home, but Cooper’s side gleaned a measure of revenge with a 2-0 success at the City Ground in April.

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Preview: Nott’m Forest vs. Coventry – prediction, team news, lineups

Forest new boys Awoniyi and Henderson are both training with the squad in Spain and can expect to earn their first non-competitive appearances on Friday, with the latter replacing Brice Samba after his exit for Lens was confirmed.

With Djed Spence no longer on the books, ex-Troyes defender Biancone is the most likely occupant of the right-back spot before more competition potentially arrives in the form of Liverpool’s Neco Williams.

Cafu, Joe Lolley and Steve Cook all represent experienced options in Cooper’s pre-season ranks, but Wales starlet Brennan Johnson continues his well-earned rest after the international break.

As for Coventry, new boy Kasey Palmer was named in the starting XI for the recent win over Leamington, but Julien Dacosta has completed a loan switch to Shrewsbury Town.

Robins unsurprisingly made a full 11 changes at half time against Leamington, and the Sky Blues boss may be tempted to bring in some of his second-half crop from the first whistle against Premier League opposition.

With Sweden international Viktor Gyokeres still recovering from his Nations League exploits, Godden, Tavares, Tyler Walker and Martyn Waghorn will be the attackers at Robins’s disposal here.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Biancone, Cook, Mbe Soh, Colback; Lolley, Yates, Cafu, Mighten; Awoniyi, Da Costa

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Coventry City possible starting lineup:
Moore; Dabo, Hyam, Rose, Bidwell; Sheaf, Kelly, Hamer; Palmer; Godden, Waghorn

Preview: Nott’m Forest vs. Coventry – prediction, team news, lineups
We say: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Coventry City
With so many alterations set to be made in-game and both managers hoping to witness what every single member of their crop has to offer, fans should maybe not expect fireworks to fly.

Coventry are more than capable of providing the Tricky Trees with a tricky test, but Cooper’s side should have what it takes to edge a close battle.

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