Forest manager urging fans to be the 12th man

Nottingham Forest are playing for their Championship future this weekend, as they host Ipswich Town at the City Ground.

Lose or draw and Forest could be relegated to League One. Win, and Forest should stay up. Relegation rivals Blackburn Rovers are away at Brentford, while Birmingham City take on Bristol City at home.

Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton says the fans can play an enormous part in The Reds’ survival bid in the crucial clash against Ipswich Town on Sunday.

Forest go into the final game of the season level on points with Blackburn Rovers who occupy the final relegation spot, and Warburton knows the supporters can act as a 12th man.

He said: “You don’t want the old clichés to be rolled out, but the fans can’t be taken for granted. Whenever you go to a club with a good fan base, tradition and history, you have got to recognise it, and the players do recognise it.

“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, a cup final atmosphere. We want to have the crowd behind us; our job is to entertain them, play the right type of football and get the right type of result and performance that they enjoy.

“Everyone is asking if the players know what is at stake and the significance of the game – of course they are. They are professional athletes and adults, they know what is at stake for the club, the staff, the playing squad and their families. They are well aware and don’t treat them as fools, they are far from that.”

Warburton expects Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy to field a strong line-up for the final game of the season, even though they have nothing to play for but pride as they sit comfortably in mid-table.

He said: “Mick is an utter professional; I have huge respect for him and the many things he has done in the game. There is no doubt that his team will turn up diligent, well organised, hard-working and with no shortage of quality.

“This is an outstanding league and one of the best in world football. What is at stake at the top end is clear for all to see and you want integrity in any competition to be maintained.”

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