Why momentum is with Garner and Forest
Manchester United loanee James Garner faces a critical spell over Easter with Nottingham Forest, as they look to put more pressure on Bournemouth in the battle for a Premier League place.
The East Midlands outfit have not been in the top flight since 1999 but manager Steve Cooper has overseen real progress this term, with Garner at the heart of everything that has been good about a side that also knocked Arsenal out of the Emirates FA Cup.
Our Academy product is in his second stint with the two-time European champions and is maturing nicely under a coach he already knew from various age groups in the England set-up. He will no doubt be relishing the upcoming matches in a bid to help Forest gain promotion, with two fixtures to play in the space of four days.
On Good Friday, Forest have a key contest in the early 12:30 BST kick-off, away to another side in the play-off shake-up, Luton Town.
West Bromwich Albion then head to Nottingham on Easter Monday for a 20:00 BST start, with Steve Bruce in charge of the visitors. Both games are being shown live on Sky Sports in the UK.
At the moment, Forest lie in fourth spot in the Championship table, six points adrift of second-placed Bournemouth. But the south coast team's form has dipped and testing games are on the horizon against Middlesbrough, Coventry City and the runaway leaders, Fulham, who are firmly on course for a top-flight return.
Cooper's men have played the same number of matches as the Cherries and have two games in hand on Huddersfield Town, who moved into third spot after their win over Luton on Monday night.
Forest go to Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium on 3 May, which could end up being absolutely crucial.
"He is a very good example of making sure he finishes the season strongly, as there’s still so much to play for and so many minutes to play," the Forest boss told Nottinghamshire Live.
“He’s good for a goal. He’s around the set pieces a lot and he’s a good technician. He had a wonderful half-volley diagonal pass against Coventry. When it dropped, you had a feeling he was going to connect with it nicely.
“His out-of-possession game might go under the radar but that’s been really good as well. He reads and intercepts some really important passes and that’s as pleasing for me as the other stuff.”