It’s Friday night football at The Den this weekend for Millwall, as The Lions look to get back to winning ways and stretch their unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to five games when Nottingham Forest meet Gary Rowett's side under the lights.
Millwall sit 13th in the League table heading into the first fixture of December, with Sabri Lamouchi’s Forest side enjoying a bright first few months of the season in fourth – eight points adrift of the top two with a game in hand. The visitors were unbeaten in four prior to last weekend, when they were beaten at the City Ground by Neil Harris’ Cardiff City side.
Nottingham Forest have competed in The Championship since their promotion from League One in 2008, in that time reaching two Play-Off places. The red side of the Trent have spent all but five years of their League football history in England’s top two divisions, and enjoyed the glittering peak of their past during the Brian Clough era. Between 1977 and 1980, Forest lifted two European Cups, one UEFA Super Cup and one First Division title, alongside two of their four League Cups and one Charity Shield. The club have also won two further League Cups and two FA Cups during their history. In a bid to build a credible case to return to the big-time of the Premier League from which Forest have been absent since 1999, the side have appointed former Ivory Coast and Rennes manager Lamouchi – who has certainly sought to implement a style at the City Ground.
Several key reinforcements were made in the East Midlands in the summer, with a haul of players leaving and being replaced with some savvy incomings. Sammy Ameobi and Albert Adomah arrived on free transfers, along with the increasingly-impressing goalkeeper Brice Samba and former Arsenal man Carl Jenkinson among others. John Bostock and Aro Muric were among those to be in brought in on loan. No less than 17 first-team players departed the City Ground during the summer months, including Lions loanee Luke Steele and Premier League-bound Ben Osborn and Stephen Henderson. Adlene Guedioura, Jamie Ward and highly-rated prospect Arvin Appiah also left the club, along with Daryl Murphy, Jason Cummings and Apostolos Vellios.
Sabri Lamouchi arrived at Nottingham Forest in June of this year ahead of the start of the current campaign. The former France midfielder takes his first job in the English game since even the start of his playing days, lasting 19 years as a professional on the pitch. Lamouchi spent the first decade of his playing career with Ales, Auxerre and then Monaco, making his senior France debut in 1996. He would earn his 12th and final cap in 2001, by which time he was on Italian shores playing for Parma – later joining Inter Milan and Genoa. Returning to France with Marseille in 2005, Lamouchi ended his career with a trio of clubs in Qatar before retiring in 2009. Moving to the sidelines, the 48-year-old took the Ivory Coast national job in 2012 and steered the nation to the World Cup finals in 2014. Lamouchi returned to Qatar with El Jaish for just under three years, and managed Rennes for a year before arriving at the City Ground – currently boasting a win rate of over half, and picking up the September award for Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month.
Friday’s fixture will be the 70th to be played between the two clubs, with Millwall boasting a slightly superior record of 26 wins to Forest’s 22. The Lions have lost just two of our last nine meetings, and took a 1-0 win in the clubs’ last contest as Ryan Tunnicliffe’s overhead kick decided The Lions’ final game of 2018 at The Den.