Nottingham Forest's predicted line-up for Blackburn Rovers clash

Nottingham Forest's Britt Assombalonga celebrates at full time

We predict Nottingham Forest's starters against Blackburn Rovers, a side who go into tonight's encounter without a goal in their last three Championship games.

Apostolos Vellios - Everton on the benchApostolos Vellios has five goals in his last seven games for Forest

Nottingham Forest will be without forward Niklas Bendtner for their trip to Ewood Park - following the ankle injury suffered by the Danish international in Forest's 3-1 victory over Birmingham City. Bendtner joins Matty Fryatt, Matty Cash and Daniel Pinillos as Forest's other absentees. 

Despite injuries to some key personnel, Head Coach Philippe Montanier will find solace in the returns of Michael Mancienne and striker Brit Assombalonga to the match day squad. The latter a timely addition considering the absence of fellow forwards Bendtner and Fryatt. Assombalonga is fully expected to start on the bench, as Forest's Greek forward Apostolos Vellios is currently experiencing an impressive goal scoring streak.

Nottingham Forest's Britt Assombalonga celebrates scoring his sides first goalBritt Assombalonga will return to the squad after an injury lay-off

Here's our expected Nottingham Forest XI to face Blackburn Rovers: 

After a solid defensive display against Midlands rivals Birmingham City last week, Forest are extremely likely to stick with the centre-back pairing of Matt Mills and Damien Perquis in front of Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

Nottingham Forest's Vladimir StojkovicWill Nottingham Forest's Vladimir Stojkovic secure his first clean sheet of the season against Blackburn Rovers?

Forest, and Stojkovic in particular, will be hoping to build on some encouraging recent form, despite there being no clean sheet at all so far this season. Today's game against Blackburn may be an ideal opportunity to claim their first shut-out, as the Ewood Park side have only won one game at home this campaign - the Championship's worst record. 

The impact of substitute Hildeberto Pereira as an attacking full-back in Forest's previous game may well lead to a starting slot at right-back, with Eric Lichaj switching over to left-back. 

In his last two displays, Welshman David Vaughan has proved to be a valuable, composed figure in a deep-lying midfield role - where he is expected to be joined by the returning Pajtim Kasami as part of Montanier's 4-2-3-1 system. 

Providing pace and tenacity in the wide areas should be Mustapha Carayol and Ben Osborn. Former Middlesbrough winger Carayol will be hoping that his energetic displays from the right can be supplemented with a more consistent end product, whilst Forest academy graduate Ben Osborn will want to build on his man-of-the-match performance last time out.

Nottingham Forest's Henri Lansbury celebratesNottingham Forest's Henri Lansbury could be vital for Forest against Blackburn

Aside from Osborn, perhaps Nottingham Forest's biggest threat will emerge from Henri Lansbury. The talented midfield player is a danger from set-pieces and also has contributed two goals and three assists from nine Championship appearances this season. Lansbury is expected to be afforded a more advanced role, behind Apostolos Vellios - who has scored three in his last three starts and five in his last seven Championship games.

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