Cooper hoping to deliver the goods for Forest

Steve Cooper

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper says the team have the chance to be part of “something great” as they prepare to travel to Bramall Lane to tackle Sheffield United in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final (Sheff Utd 13/10, Draw 11/5, Forest 13/5 – Match Betting).

The Blades (9/4 to earn promotion) won their final three games of the regular Championship campaign to book their spot in the playoffs, while Forest finished one place above them in fourth.

Cooper’s side (13/8 to earn promotion) looked doomed before his appointment earlier in the campaign, and they narrowly missed out on automatic promotion in the end.

The former Swansea City coach has moved on from that disappointment, and he has tried to relay the importance of promotion to the squad ahead of kick-off.

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He told the Nottingham Post: “There’s such a good interaction between the players and the staff. And I don’t just mean the staff you may see sitting in the dugout – there’s the catering staff, media guys, extra support staff, and ground staff.

“It’s always an honour and a privilege to work here, whether it’s a training day or a match day, where you see more people. Or when you go to an FA Youth Cup final, and you hear nearly 6,000 fans sing as they did and support the youth team as they did.

“You know every day that you are part of something great. I will never, ever lose sight of that or take that for granted.

“For me personally, the more connected I get to the club, the more I just want to do well and not let people down. I’m very tunnel vision on doing the best job possible.

“Sometimes I try not to think about too many other things because I know if I get it right and the team get it right, we can make people happy. Really, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Paul Heckingbottom’s side have only lost once at home since the start of November, and Cooper will hope Steve Cook, Ryan Yates and Jack Colback can all pass late fitness tests.

Heckingbottom is due to play the same starting XI that started the 4-0 win over Fulham last time out.

In the other playoff semi-final, Luton Town and Huddersfield Town played out a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road on Friday evening.

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Author: Lucille White