Ipswich Town set to face ‘cup final atmosphere’ as Nottingham Forest aim to beat drop
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Mark Warburton hopes Nottingham Forest fans can roar their team to safety when Ipswich Town visit for a tense season finale.
All of the Championship’s final round of fixtures kick-off at 12pm on ‘Survival Sunday’ and, with the play-off places sealed, all the focus is on a three-way battle to beat the drop.
Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers occupy the final relegation spot and they face Brentford away. Forest are above them on goal difference, while Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham are two points clear heading into their game at Bristol City.
Meanwhile, Ipswich can finish anywhere between 14th and 19th – anywhere below 16th would represents the club’s lowest finish since their promotion to the second-tier in the mid-1950s – and Mick McCarthy has said he will play full-strength side to protect the integrity of the league.
Forest have beaten Newcastle, Brighton, Reading and Huddersfield at home this season and The City Ground should be close to its 30,445 capacity on the banks of the River Trent.
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“The part the fans can play in staying with the team from the first to the last whistle is enormous because it is a tense game and will be a cup final atmosphere,” said Warburton, who only took over in March, speaking to the Nottingham Post..
“We will get feedback (on the other scores) in the dugout, but we have to just focus on ourselves, go into the game full of confidence and self-belief and get the job done.”
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Homegrown youngsters Jordan Smith, Joe Worrall, Ben Osborn, Ben Brereton and Matthew Cash could all feature, with Warburton adding: “We know we have some really high quality youngsters here and the future looks bright, but you want that future to be in the Championship.
“You don’t treat the players like fools. They know what is at stake for the club, for the fans and for themselves and their families.”
If Blackburn were to win by two more goals than Forest, the latter would go down. Reds captain Chris Cohen said: “I honestly believe that if we can win against Ipswich, it will be enough for us. Don’t go out believing that you have to win 4-0 or 5-0 from the off, because if you go too gung-ho you can get hit by a sucker punch very easily and the challenge can start to feel even bigger.”