The first of the npower Championship Play-Offs gets underway tonight when Nottingham Forest host Swansea City, looking to improve on last season's showing at the same stage.

Billy Davies' side finished third at the end of the last campaign but came unstuck against sixth placed Blackpool eventually losing 6-4 on aggregate after losing both legs.

This season they find themselves in a very different position, they only secured their Play-Off place on the final day of the season but are the in-form side with five wins from their last six matches and Billy Davies is focusing on achieving his second promotion from the Championship, after achieving it with Derby County in 2007.

Speaking to he said: "We know there are four very good sides in the play-offs. We know that any two of the four can get to the final and one can go beyond.

"And we know it's a lottery but as I've said on many occasions before, I've got great faith in this team and we'll very work hard and do all we can."

Swansea find themselves in a similar position to Forest last season, having occupied a top six place for most of the season and even looked a possibility for automatic promotion.

They finished the campaign in third place, leapfrogging Cardiff City thanks to a 4-0 win over Sheffield United on the final day but despite the finish Manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side are still the underdogs, as he told "Our objective over the season was to finish in the top two. We've slipped up away from home on a few occasions this season to rule that out, but it's still a great feeling to finish third.

"But let's make no mistake about it, we'll be going into the play-offs as underdogs.

"This is only our third season in the Championship, so it's still all relatively new to us at this level.

"All the other teams in there have got the experience. They are big clubs with big status and big players.

"Forest experienced the Play-Offs last season and have been in and around there for the last few seasons.

"It's going to be an extremely difficult task.''


Just five points separate the two sides this season and the two league matches have been won by the home sides.

The first meeting at the City Ground back in September ended in a 3-1 win for Forest after two goals from Lewis McGugan and another from Radoslaw Majewski secured the points. Cedric van der Gun did pull one back for the visitors in injury time but it had no impact on the outcome.

When they met again in March things were a bit closer as the Swans ran out 3-2 winners. Scott Sinclair opened the scoring at the Liberty Stadium before Fabio Borini scored his first of the afternoon on 26 minutes. Kris Boyd pulled a goal back for the visitors before Borini restored the two goal advantage.

Paul Anderson then netted in injury time but it was all too little too late as the Swans held on.

Thursday's match will be the 60th meeting between the two side, with Forest leading the head to head by just two wins.

Billy Davies' side have won 24 compared to 22 while 13 matches have ended all square.

The Swans have to go back to 2006 since they last won at the City Ground when goals from Adrian Forbes and Lee Trundle cancelled out Nathan Tyson's opener.

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