The exciting Christmas period is set to start this weekend as the much anticipated festive fixture list gets underway in the Premier League and Sky Bet Championship.

This weekend’s sporting action sees Nottingham Forest take on Ipswich at The City Ground. Aitor Karanka’s men were victorious when the two sides last met in April, as they put 4 past the Tractor Boys in a 4-2 win.

The Reds were involved in a 10-goal thriller on Wednesday night as they drew 5-5 with Aston Villa but Aitor Karanka believes his side needs to stay focussed, “If we go into the game with the wrong mentality, we will be making a big mistake. I think it can be one of the most difficult games in the season.”

The Calm Before the Storm: The City Ground undergoing final preparations ahead of the Ipswich clash.

Nottingham Forest sit in 6th place just inside the play-offs spots and can consolidate their place with a win.

Aitor Karanka Pre-Ipswich Press Conference.

Derby County suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Former boss Gary Rowett’s Stoke City side on Wednesday night. The Rams will look to keep the pressure on the play-offs as they face Swansea City at Pride Park on Saturday.

 

“If you are going to stay in the race, then you need a positive result after a setback”
Frank Lampard, Derby County Manager

 

However, the Rams will be without Bradley Johnson for their clash against Swansea as he faces a violent conduct charge after he appeared to bite Joe Allen, in a heated clash at the Bet365 Stadium.

Frank Lampard is expecting a reaction from his side, ““If you are going to stay in the race then you need a positive result after a setback,” he told Rams TV. Derby County sit in 7th spot, just one place behind rivals Nottingham Forest.

Johnson appears to bite Allen as referee Darren England looks on.
IMG: RTE

Leicester City return to league action on Saturday after victory in the Carabao Cup over Southampton on Tuesday night. The Foxes will welcome a Watford side who have not won at The King Power Stadium since 2013 (6 meetings).

 

Leicester City were beaten by Manchester City at the same stage of last year’s Carabao Cup, crashing out 4-3 on penalties.

In a poignant month for everyone involved at Leicester City, the Foxes are resuming with business and are placed 10th in the Premier League table after Jamie Vardy secured a point from the penalty spot at the AMEX Stadium (Brighton & Hove Albion) last weekend.

Leicester manager Claude Puel believes his options are growing as players return from injury, “Vicente can come back with us (for Watford), Harry (Maguire) made some warm-up and had some touches with the ball, I hope he can come back in training sessions next week.

Leicester City will play Manchester City in the next round of the Carabao Cup.

Neil Ardley will have to wait till Tuesday for his first game in charge of the Magpies. A 4-0 defeat against Barnsley in the 1st round of the FA Cup means Notts County have no game this weekend but come up against League one high-flyers, Sunderland on Tuesday in the Second Round of the Checkatrade Trophy.

It’s been a long wait for Ardley to watch over his first game, in what has been a disappointing season so far. The Nottingham side will look to change fortunes as they travel north to play Sunderland, looking to reach the New Wembley for the first time in the club’s history.

Neil Ardley has already won promotion at Wembley with Wimbledon and will look for a similar outcome with Notts County in the near future.