Albion in crucial play-off battle

Patrick Gleeson looks ahead to the Seagulls’ clash with Nottingham Forest over Easter.

Albion travel to the in-form Nottingham Forest this weekend in a crucial battle for a play-off place.

Forest’s incredible turn of form since the return on manager Billy Davies has seen the Reds overtake Albion in the top six, but a win for the Seagulls would see them leap above Saturday’s opponents in the table.

Team news

Albion go into the tie without Adam El-Abd (susepended) but goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak and Liam Bridcutt look set to retain their first team places after overcoming a back injury and tiredness respectively.

Gus Poyet was unable to secure a loan deal for a striker before Thursday’s 5pm deadline, so the fitness of Leonardo Ulloa will be key to the Seagulls’ final position this campaign.

Forest are unlikely to make any changes off the back of their blistering form of late, so the strike partnership of Simon Cox and former Brighton loanee Darius Henderson is likely to continue.

Form

Albion recovered from consecutive away defeats to Bolton and Barnsley with the 3-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace before the international break but will have their work cut out to come away with a share of the spoils at the City Ground.

Albion last 5: W D L L W

Forest are the in-form team in the country right now with six straight league victories. Another win would increase the run to seven consecutive wins, something not even Brian Clough managed whilst his time in charge at the club.

Forest last 5: W W W W W

Head to Head

The reverse of this fixture back in December was a drab affair on the South Coast. The game finished in a 0-0 draw without a single shot on target from either side, despite Albion’s 71% possession.

Players to watch:

Leonardo Ulloa (Albion)

The big Argentine has scored six goals in his last four starts, including a double in the derby on St Patrick’s Day. Ulloa will have benefited from the rest as a result of the international break and is sure to cause the Forest backline problems.

Lewis McGugan (Forest)

The midfielder struck late against Hull City in Forest’s last outing, clinching a dramatic 2-1 victory. The goal was McGugan’s third consecutive goal in the last 10 minutes of the game after coming on as a substitute.