Nottingham Forest resume their first Premier League campaign with trip to Old Trafford to take on in-form Manchester United as Steve Cook’s side look to put a disappointing first part of the season behind them.
Currently in the relegation zone, Forest have won just two of their last five games, while United have lost just once in their last five games, handing this clash a one-sided look on paper.
Cooper and co., however, will be looking to defy those odds and move themselves out of the drop zone come the beginning of 2023.
Cooper will be left sweating over the fitness of trio Wayne Hennessey, Morgan Gibbs-White and Neco Williams after all three missed their most recent Carabao Cup 4th round clash against Blackburn Rovers after picking up knocks.
It is Hennessey that may be the biggest issue should he not prove his fitness, with first-choice option Dean Henderson ineligible to play against his parent club, leaving Forest somewhat lacking in goal.
Jesse Lingard, however, will be itching to face his former club, having left them as a free agent over the summer to move to Nottingham.
Cheikhou Kouyate was the only new injury worry over the World Cup period, with the Senegal midfielder picking up a hamstring injury in his nation’s tournament opener.
He joins a growing injury list which includes a long term issue for Gianluca Biancome, a calf problem for Omar Richards, as well as an injury to Moussa Niakhate.
Both Serge Aurier and Gibbs-White are ‘hopeful’ options, however, Cook explained.
“We are hopeful they will be available. It is still a little bit inconclusive, but we will see in a few days’ time.”
It is a tight turnaround for Forest, with a game on New Year’s day against Chelsea at the City Ground after their trip to Old Trafford, and it is unlikely that any of those with significant issues will play a role in either, though Gibbs-White, Aurier and Hennessey could all be fit.