Draw profits from tight replay
Ben Coley and Sam Pollock preview Wednesday's FA Cup fourth-round replay between Preston and Nottingham Forest at Deepdale.
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Fifth in the Championship against fourth in League 1 was marked as an FA Cup tie with lots of promise, but after the two teams played out a 0-0 draw at the City Ground, the replay looks set to be just as tight.
With both teams chasing promotion in their respective divisions, both managers named strong sides for the fourth-round clash but it remains to be seen how much importance will be put on the replay on Wednesday night.
Preston will go in to the game full of confidence having lost only two of their last 22 in all competitions. Those defeats came against two of the top three in League 1 in Brentford and Wolves.
This form has allowed the Lilywhites to play with no fear against Championship opposition, having also drawn 1-1 against Ipswich at Portman Road in the third round, eventually going on to beat them 3-2 in the replay at Deepdale.
Manager Simon Grayson will be hoping for a similar result this time around and if history is to repeat itself then Preston to win and over 2.5 goals in the match is worthy of consideration at 7/2.
Preston will be relying heavily on top scorer Joe Garner, who bagged a hat-trick to knock Ipswich out of the competition and now has five goals in the FA Cup and 14 overall this season. The ex-Nottingham Forest forward is 7/1 to be the first goalscorer in a market headed by Simon Cox.
Billy Davies named a strong line-up for the FA Cup clash under a fortnight ago and is expected to continue with that mindset with his side in such good form.
Forest extended their unbeaten record to 13 games in all competitions at the weekend, beating Yeovil 3-1 at the City Ground, and haven't lost since November 29.
Davies' side have also scored an impressive 17 goals in just six games and at 100/30, Forest to win and both teams to score is worth considering for those who expect the visitors' class to tell.
Although Forest will be without the injured Dexter Blackstock and Chris Cohen, the likes of Darius Henderson, Cox and top scorer Andy Reid could all feature while Jamie Paterson continues to impress.
Recent meetings between the two clubs don't exactly favour Preston, who have won just one of their last eight against Forest. However, the last two have ended in draws and perhaps Preston can contain their rivals here.
Indeed, it's worth noting that Forest's best form has come at the City Ground and they've shared the spoils seven times on the road in the Championship - only Sheffield Wednesday have drawn more.
Preston have also drawn six of their 14 home games in League 1 and with so little to choose between these two, 5/2 about extra-time seems reasonable and it wouldn't be the biggest surprise were penalties required.