Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)

After gracelessly bowing out of the FA Cup competition, Aston Villa will attempt to regain their league form against a formidable opponent in Nottingham Forest. Villa currently sit 5th on the Championship table with 44 points from 26 contests. The Claret & Blue have gained seven points from their last five league contests, and will be roaring to notch another win while travelling to City Ground in Nottingham.

There has been a change of manager for Forest over the past week. Aitor Karanka has been put in charge of attempting to get Forest back into a decent run of form for the remainder of the year. The former Middlesbrough gaffer has a lot to consider while picking a starting eleven for his first game as Nottingham Forest manager. Although Forest found a way to eliminate Premier League side Arsenal in he FA Cup, the club as a whole has only found two league wins in the last ten games played. If Karanka is to begin his tenure with getting the Forest supporters on his side he must not overlook what Aston Villa is capable of. Forest have played seven matches against top-6 opposition this year and have only managed to gain a point from those matches.

Forest are 14th on the Championship table with 32 wins from 26 games and a goal-differential of -9. A loss against Villa and results going the other way could see Forest drop to 18th.

Irish striker Daryl Murphy has been helping to lead the goal charge for Nottingham Forest so far this year along with attacking-midfielder Kieran Dowell. Murphy has seven goals to his name with all of them coming inside of the oppositions 18 yard box. Of those seven goals, five have come off of Murphys’ left foot. Dowell has 8 goals so far this season and has three goals to his name coming from a respectable distance.  With John Terry being ruled out after rolling his ankle in training, it would be quite obvious that James Chester and Tommy Elphick will have to keep an keen watch on Murphy and Dowell.

Aston Villas’ last league contest ended in a dominant 5-0 victory over Bristol City and the supporters voiced their pleasure loud and clear. Villa manager Steve Bruce would be wise to keep the same exact starting eleven going into this clash with Nottingham Forest. Although bowing out of the FA Cup is never something that will be met with cheers and admiration, Aston Villa have certainly been hinting that promotion is the big task for them this year. There’s still a ton of football to be played in the Championship, and it will be entertaining to see just how far up the table Villa will find themselves in the next few fixtures.

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