Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa face off at the City Ground on Wednesday night in a huge clash that could help determine which of these sides – if any – sneaks a play-off spot this season.
Forest currently hold the advantage just two points behind current incumbents and East Midlands rivals Derby, while Villa are two more points back in 10th.
Ahead of the intriguing tussle between these two Championship heavyweights, we quizzed a fan from both – Lee Clarke of Forest fan site @SeatPitch, and James Rushton from @7500toHolte – for their takes as we approach the final stretch.
So, over to Lee…
Lee Clarke (@SeatPitch)
The Forest player you need to fear the most right now is… It has to be Joe Lolley. A wand of a left peg and like a new player since signing a new deal.
One thing nobody is saying about us right now… is that Forest will sneak into the play-offs. We’re quietly going about our business. People are backing Villa and Wednesday, who are both below us. Suits us!
This game means for our season… Absolutely everything. Big games come every week in this league but this is the epitome of a six-pointer. Lose tonight and it’s going to be tough to achieve a top-six finish.
The Villa player I most admire is… Jack Grealish, following his efforts on Sunday against Birmingham. He seems to have matured and is finally focusing on the football. John McGinn is decent too.
My opinion on Martin O’Neill is… That he’s proving to be the right man for the job. Four home wins on the spin.
My favourite Forest-Villa moment from down the years is… From two seasons ago, when 17-year-old Ben Brereton stepped off the bench to score a 94th-minute winner against Villa.
My score prediction is… I’m going heart ruling head and a 2-1 win. Lolley and Karim Ansarifard to score.
We’ll finish this season… Let me get back to you after tonight? I still think we’ll just miss out, so 8th.
James Rushton (@7500toHolte)
The Villa player you need to fear the most right now is… Without a doubt, Jack Grealish. He plays football like it’s a parlour game. It looks so easy to him. Time slows down when he has the ball and he finds the spaces that nobody knows even exists Maybe we’re a one-man team, maybe not – but Grealish is enhancing the team and the abilities of everybody else right now.
One thing nobody is saying about us right now… is that we can go up this season. There’s a lot of doubt, but the slim possibility exists that we can – as long as we have Grealish. Of course, that all depends on tonight’s game…
This game means for our season… A lot. There’s a tiny chance that, depending on results, we could be in 6th by 6pm on Saturday. If we fall short tonight, then the path to promotion becomes a lot harder to navigate. Forest are competing for the same prize as well and could damn us if they win tonight. It’s intense.
The Forest player I admire most is… Joe Lolley. He’s worked extremely hard to be where he is today and has come such a long way. He’s brilliant to watch and should be a Premier League player. I’m rooting for him.
My opinion on Martin O’Neill is… Meh. I’m neither here nor there on him. A lot of Villa fans don’t like him, but I’ve got rose tinted specs on here. He’s a part of my favourite Villa memories so I can’t hate him. He had his own goals in life, I guess, and he left Villa under a cloud. Best of luck to him, but I hope we give him a good hiding.
My favourite Forest-Villa moment from down the years is… Very recent, but it’s the 5-5 draw from earlier this season. How could it not be? It was a fantastic advert for crazy Championship football. Both teams gave it their all and earned a lot of respect. The less said about the goalkeepers the better, though.
My score prediction is… 2-2. Two stubborn old teams meet at a pivotal point and it could be ‘one of those nights’.
We’ll finish this season… 7th. We’re improving all the time but I think we’ve left it too late. Every result matters so much to us now and the pressure is on.