Nottingham Forest have two key players missing when they face Stoke City tonight at the bet365 Stadium.
Reds boss Chris Hughton was speaking to our colleagues at NottinghamshireLive ahead of the game and confirmed there was mixed team news for the fixture.
He said: “The only ones who are not training are Jack Colback (ankle) and Luke Freeman (hernia).
“We’re hoping Luke will be back training over the next couple of weeks.”
There is some good news for Forest fans though, Scott McKenna is edging in on a return to action, he may even feature tonight.
McKenna – who was heavily linked with Stoke in various transfer windows in 2018 and 2019 – has missed the Reds last five games with an ankle injury, with Tobias Figueiredo and Loic Mbe Soh competing to partner Joe Worrall in his absence.
It leaves Chris Hughton with a decision to make after his side kept a clean sheet against Blues.
“On the injury front, we’re very good at this moment,” Hughton said.
“Scott is the only one I’ve got to make a decision on.
“He did train today and did part of the training yesterday as well.
“He’s the one I have to make a decision on, and whether he’s done enough.
The return of McKenna looks setto be a big boost for Forest as the season progresses, he has missed the Reds’ last five games with an ankle injury, with Tobias Figueiredo and Loic Mbe Soh competing to partner Joe Worrall in his absence.
Forest kept a clean-sheet last time out, as they drew 0-0 at home to Blues on Boxing Day, and will be looking to make it four games unbeaten at the bet365 Stadium.
“But from an injury point of view, it’s good to be in the position we’re in.”
Ahead of the clash with Stoke, the Reds sit 20th in the Championship table, two points above the relegation zone – although Rotherham and Derby County, below them, both have at least one game in hand.
A lack of creativity and goal threat was evident against the Blues, albeit the hosts did look solid at the back.
Hughton’s only change to his XI for that game had been to bring in Figueiredo for Mbe Soh. And now he must consider whether to stick or twist for his team’s last outing of 2020.
“What’s always at the front of my mind is winning the next game. If that meant playing the same team for the next 10 games and getting good points, I would gladly do that,” he said.
“But on the balance of, would you prefer to have lots of bodies available and lots of choices, or those choices speak for themselves – you would always want to have players fit and available.
“It’s probably the best position we’ve been in with regards having players available, certainly since I’ve been here.”