Chris Hughton comments following Nottingham Forest pre-season setback

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Nottingham Forest’s pre-season campaign has been somewhat successful up to now, however it has come to a premature end.

The Tricky Trees were set to pit their wits last night against a Premier League side in Aston Villa, a match where Matty Cash would have played against his former club for the first time since leaving for Dean Smith’s side last summer.

However owing to positive COVID-19 cases in the Forest camp, the friendly, which was due to take place at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground, was cancelled just hours before the 1pm kick off.

And unfortunately for Forest fans who were hoping to step foot inside the City Ground this Saturday for the first time since a 3-0 defeat to Millwall in March 2020, their match against Burnley has also suffered the same fate, albeit much more in advance.

Chris Hughton will have been hoping to see how his current squad fared against two top flight teams, especially as the highest level of opposition faced up to now is Crewe Alexandra of League One, but they will have to go into their fixture on August 8 against Coventry City without having played in over two weeks.

Despite the disappointment, Hughton has commented on the situation and has also praised the Clarets for their co-operation.

Quiz: What was the score the last time Nottingham Forest played at each of these 24 stadiums?

1 of 24

Anfield?

5-1 W

5-1 L

3-1 W

3-1L

“The situation is unchanged since yesterday when we had to cancel the Villa friendly with some players having to self-isolate,” said Hughton, per Forest’s official website.

“Therefore it is the right decision to cancel the fixture in the interests of players and staff from both clubs and our own supporters.

“It is disappointing that we have not been able to get a run-out against Premier League opposition but Sean Dyche and Burnley Football Club have been very understanding for which I am grateful.

“I am also very disappointed that Forest supporters will have to wait a little bit longer to return to The City Ground but the team and I look forward to welcoming them back against Bradford and Bournemouth.

“The focus of everybody at the club is now to prepare for the Coventry fixture.”

The Verdict

Whilst some may think it’s not that important that a pre-season game has been cancelled, it could have served as great preparation for Forest’s season opener at Coventry in just over one weeks time.

However it would have been more detrimental if Forest had made mass changes to their squad between the end of last season and now – as it stands just one new player has arrived in Ethan Horvath so Hughton should know a lot about his squad already and how he’s going to line up.

Of course it would have been ideal to face a stiffer test in the form of Premier League sides before the Championship campaign begins but Forest aren’t the only ones in this particular boat and they’ll just have to kick on without the ideal match preparation ahead of a trip to Mark Robins’ side on August 8.

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