Nottingham Forest boss confirms ‘real’ injury blow and late call for Newcastle United trip
Nottingham Forest are preparing for their long-awaited Premier League return away to Newcastle United this Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The newly promoted side will take on a Newcastle team who have lost just once at St James’s Park in the top flight in 2022.
And Forest manager Steve Cooper has assessed the fitness of his squad heading into the weekend.
Midfielder Ryan Yates suffered a knee injury during pre-season and remains sidelined for the trip to Tyneside.
"Ryan Yates hasn't got back in time, he's not far away but it's a real blow for him because he would have loved to be part of Saturday but we're as we were,” Cooper said.
"Wayne Hennessey is back training, he missed a game through a small injury but he's back for the weekend.”
New arrival Orel Mangala could make his debut against Newcastle this weekend as Cooper prepares to make a late call.
"We’ll see,” Cooper said during a pre-match press conference. “I haven't decided yet.”
The trip to a sold out St James’s Park will be Forest’s first top-flight match since 1999. And Cooper is relishing the opportunity of coming up against Eddie Howe’s side this weekend.
“We're under no illusions as to how difficult it is going to be and we'll respect that,” he admitted. “Week in, week out, look where we're going this weekend, it's a brilliant spectacle, Newcastle away, about what the Premier League is and the situation they're in as a club as well.
"Parallel to that, we really believe in ourselves and we really want to thrive in the opportunity, be at our best and excel and we're certainly going to give it our best shot.
“We've had a conversation about St James's Park and where Newcastle are as a club at the moment, and as a team and the first day of the season and all that sort of stuff. But we're having those discussions with real positivity and real excitement and focus on going there and being the best we can be.
“It's a really tough game, a brilliant game for the first game back in the Premier League away from home. We go there full of focus, full of excitement and it can't come quick enough.”