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Match preview: Nottingham Forest v Charlton

Forest go into Saturday's game against Charlton Athletic without Britt Assombalonga, a reasonably terrifying prospect. Nick Miller spoke to excellent Charlton Blogger & journalist Kyle Andrews about the game...

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NM: Bob Peeters looks the least like a professional football manager as anyone I can think of. Is that off-putting?

KA: There was a photo doing the rounds on Twitter when he was first appointed that compared him, in a shirt that could have done with an iron and a pair of jeans two sizes too big, to Chris Powell, the most stylish man that has ever graced a dugout. It felt like we'd traded in a Ferrari for second hand Rover.

But, in fairness to Peeters, he's invested in an iron and a suit since moving to England. He could do with doing up his top button, but he certainly patrols the technical area with some sort of style.

NM: With Peeters frankly doing better than Powell (in every department other than wardrobe, it seems), do you feel conflicted at all? Like you're being disloyal to Powell in some ways? From what I gather most Charlton fans would have Powell as their dad, husband, best man or spirit animal, given half the chance.

KA: I think it's a little unfair, on both men, to make direct comparisons between the two. Powell did an outstanding job for three seasons without boardroom support, financial or otherwise, and is a legend around these parts. Peeters, with the support of those above him, has started well with players of the calibre that simply weren't available to Powell.

The vast majority of Charlton fans still have an unrelenting level of respect for Powell, which he more than deserves. But, given the fear and uncertainty that was around the club after he was sacked, and after Jose Riga wasn't kept on, every Addick is relieved and pleased that the appointment of Peeters is working out.

And if Powell is up for being my best man, I'm all for it. I'll take Peeters as bodyguard for the day.

NM: A touchline fight on Saturday could be spicy. Although both managers strike me as men who *could* hurt you, but only will if they absolutely have to.

KA: They're both gentlemen at heart, but occasionally let their emotions takeover. Don't cross them in the wrong way and they'll probably make you dinner, read you a bedtime story and tuck you into bed.

That's a theory I'd rather leave untested, though...

NM: To football: who should we be looking out for in the Charlton team? Anyone quick in attack could have some fun, given that our defence seems to have collectively decided that 'backpedalling' is the must-have look for this season.

KA: Unfortunately, our key man is a forward with a bit of pace. Igor Vetokele's goals have been the difference between us being an average side and one with realistic play-off ambitions.

Such is our reliance on him, we've forced him through late fitness tests and started him when it was probably wiser not to in the previous couple of weeks. He's been a little off the pace and we've desperately struggled in front of goal.

At the other end of the pitch, Andre Bikey and Tal Ben Haim, despite sounding like a partnership more suited to 2006, have been immense at centre-back.

NM: Will be interesting to see what we do to test that. Britt Assombalonga is suspended, so your guess is as good as mine at who we'll play up front. Could be Dexter Blackstock, who hasn't really played properly for a year, could be Matty Fryatt who's a bit lightweight to play on his own up top, could be Michail Antonio, who's a winger. Pearce tried the latter a few weeks ago against Brentford, and we lost that one by plenty. Hopefully it'll be a combination of any of those. Encourage us with tales of your weaknesses...

KA: Bikey and Ben Haim, as strong as they have been, have struggled when up against out and out pace. Callum Wilson made life incredibly tough for them. So pushing Antonio up top might not be such a bad idea.

Our main weaknesses are failing to take chances, our wastefulness in front of goal has seen us drop more points than I'd care to think about, and an inability to maintain possession, with most of our wins being gritty affairs.

Peeters is also intent on playing passing football, which is obviously no bad thing, but occasionally it's been a case of philosophy over logic, with that passing play putting us into trouble. A direct pass was on, or a need to clear the ball is desperately apparent, but the ball is still being knocked about between the back four.

NM: We might actually have the players to exploit that. We've got some pace in Antonio, Tom Ince and Jamie Paterson, plus Fryatt is pretty tenacious, so three/a combination of those play in a sort of fairly fluid front three, we'll probably press your defence pretty hard. Prediction?

KA: Purely looking at this game in isolation, I'd be happy with a point. Forest, regardless of your recent run, are a decent side and the City Ground just about comes under the 'tough place to go' category.

But, given the fact we've won one of our last six and, Blackpool at home aside, don't have the kindest of run of fixtures coming up, a Forest side without Assombalonga is probably one we've got to look to be beating if we want to avoid sliding down the table.

The draw does seem most likely, but I'll optimistically punt for one of those gritty 1-0 wins, with yourselves having 70% of the possession and 20 shots to our one. It wouldn't be the first time we've won away from home like that.

NM: In an unusual moment of optimism, I'll go for 2-1 to us. Maybe. Oh god I don't know...

You can read Kyle's excellent blog, Chris Powell's Flat Cap, here, or follow him on Twitter here. Or both. Treat yourselves.