Having claimed two EFL scalps already in this season’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy, Nottingham Forest are looking for another as they visit the Eco-Power Stadium.
The young Forest side beat Accrington Stanley and Carlisle United to secure passage from their group and set up a trip to Rovers, who topped Northern Group H.
Forest currently sit midtable in Premier League 2 with two wins and four draws from eight matches.
LAST TIME OUT
Accrington Stanley 1 Nottingham Forest U21 2
Bristol Street Motors Trophy, Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Line up: Bott, Hammond, Abbott, Hanks, McAdam, Thompson, Perry (Johnson 58), Powell, Perkins, Larsson (Norkett 45), Konate.
Former Bolton Wanderers and Hull City midfielder Warren Joyce has collected a wealth of experience among youth set-ups across the country.
After a spell as player-manager with the Tigers, and a stint abroad with Royal Antwerp, Joyce teamed up with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to head Manchester United’s reserves side before he took a step back into first team management with Wigan Athletic.
His last men’s job came with Melbourne City before returning to his homeland with Salford City’s youth and then Forest’s academy.
THE KEY MEN
Goalkeeper: Aaron Bott
The 19-year-old has featured on three occasions in PL2 action so far this term and also made his debut in the EFL Trophy in Forest’s final group game against Accrington.
Bott only graduated from the U18s side at the City Ground this summer and achieved 14 clean sheets from 43 games on his scholarship.
Defender: Jack Thompson
A defensive midfielder by trade, Thompson has featured as a centre half this season and also made his debut in this competition in the group stages.
His first start came with a clean sheet against Carlisle before he got his name on the scoresheet at the Crown Ground last time out to show early signs of being a threat at both ends of the pitch.
In the middle: Josh Powell
Forest skipper Powell has played every minute of every game so far this season in both league and cup competitions.
A versatile left sided player, the 18-year-old has provided an assist in his side’s league campaign this term and also notched a goal of his own against Carlisle .
Up top: Julian Larsson
Former Swedish youth international attacker Larsson moved to Forest from AIK in January 2020 and has since played right across the front line in the Midlands.
Now a 22-year-old, Larsson has only featured off the bench in the league but scored in his side’s defeat to West Ham United. He made his first start of the season against Stanley last time out and marked that occasion with another goal.
This will be the first ever meeting between Rovers and Forest U21 as both sides look to make it to the round of 16 for the first time since the competition’s restructuring in 2016.
However, there is the potential for a number of Forest’s youngsters to have faced off with Rovers this season. Frank Sinclair’s U18s came from behind against Forest earlier this season to take a 3-2 victory in the Midlands thanks to goals from Jamie Tomlinson and Jaiden Campbell-Ryce.
Rovers’ last first team win against Forest came in March 2012 when Frederic Piquionne and Kyle Bennett both scored in a 2-1 win at the City Ground.
TURNED OUT FOR BOTH
Despite currently being a first-team mainstay, former Rovers loanee Harry Toffolo has featured twice for Forest U21s this season.
The left-back joined then-Darren Ferguson’s side in 2017 on a temporary basis from Norwich City and went on to play 17 times in the red and white but failed to register a goal or assist during his stay.
The following season he joined Millwall on a permanent transfer but failed to make an appearance before moving on to Lincoln City. After 85 appearances and a Sky Bet League Two title, Toffolo left for Huddersfield Town before arriving at Forest at the start of last season.
He has since played 27 times in the Premier League and registered three assists in the garibaldi.
Contributor: Jefferson Hall-Nolan