Two of the Championship's underachievers will face off in Carabao Cup action on Wednesday night.
Stoke will be disappointed with their slow start as they currently sit 18th in the table following relegation from the Premier League, while Forest spent big in the summer and are slowly creeping up the table following back-to-back wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham.
Both sides will view the Carabao Cup as a sideshow as they look to fulfil their ambitions of promotion.
|Game||Nottingham Forest vs Stoke|
|Date||Wednesday, September 26|
|Time||7:45pm BST / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US) the game will not be broadcast or streamed.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
The game cannot be watched live on television in the United Kingdom (UK), nor can it be streamed live online, but live updates can be followed on Goal by clicking here .
Squads & Team News
|Position||Nottingham Forest squad|
|Goalkeepers||Pantilimon, Smith, Henderson|
|Defenders||Fox, Figueredo, Robinson, Dawson, Janko, Byram, Darikwa, Hefele|
|Midfielders||Guedioura, Dias, Goncalves, Carvalho, Watson, Colback, Osborn, Cash, Lolley, Yacob, Bridcutt, Tachstidis, Ariyibi|
|Forwards||Grabban, Soudani, Murphy|
Forest have a fully-fit squad heading into their clash against Stoke. Claudio Yacob could be in line for his debut at the City Ground.
Potential Forest XI: Pantilimon; Darikwa, Hefele, Fox, Robinson; Yacob, Watson, Dias, Soudani, Lolley, Murphy
|Goalkeepers||Butland, Federici, Haugaard|
|Defenders||Shawcross, Martins Indi, Edwards, Bauer, Tymon, Souttar, Pieters, Williams, Martina|
|Midfielders||Etebo, McClean, Ince, Fletcher, Sorensen, Adam, Allen, Imbula, Ndiaye, Woods|
|Forwards||Crouch, Berahino, Diouf, Afobe, Bojan|
Mame Biram Diouf is a doubt with a hamstring strain while Erik Pieters could also be rested.
Potential Stoke XI: Butland, Martina, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Etebo, Fletcher, Ince, Woods, Bojan, Afobe
Betting & Match Odds
The bookies think this one could go either way, with Bet365 pricing Forest up as 8/5 favourites and Stoke at 15/8 whereas the draw is 12/15
Forest boss Aitor Karanka has all but confirmed he will rest a few key players in this game due to fixture congestion.
“It is just a question of my decision. I need to check how the players who played in the last three games are feeling and try to put the best XI on the pitch," he said.
“We have to keep in mind that we have played three games in one week, before this.”
Gary Rowett will not be a popular man on Wednesday evening as the former Derby County man has a history with Forest.
Rowett is under fire due to Stoke's poor start and he may need to turn things around quickly if he is to remain in charge.
The Stoke boss wants to keep his mind off their league woes, branding the Forest game as "a nice distraction".
“Every game is important and we won’t be prioritising one over the other. But the trip to Forest is a one-off and a nice distraction from the league,” said Rowett.
This game really could go either way depending on who plays and who turns up.
Forest are much more assured at the back than Stoke despite the partnership of Ryan Shawcross and Ashley Williams being one of the most experienced in the league. Michael Hefele for Forest goes unnoticed at times but he is one of the best defenders at that level.
Saido Berahino finally ended his league goalscoring drought against Blackburn but he then missed a penalty to level the game up. Peter Crouch is still a handful up top and a late substitute appearance from him could be what wins it for Stoke.