Joe Bradshaw, BBC Sport
Tonight’s game against Burnley may be a dress rehearsal for next month’s Premier League match between the two at the City Ground. However, it also offers a chance for Steve Cooper to mastermind another intriguing cup run.
Last season, Forest’s charge to the Carabao Cup semi-finals offered a much-needed distraction from Premier League travails, as well as some scalps for Cooper’s evolving team.
Their troubles on the road in the league were well-documented, only one win all season, but three goals at Grimsby and four at Blackburn showed Forest could score on their travels, and they saw off Premier League opponents in Wolves and, notably, Tottenham at home en route to the semis.
Drawing a Premier League opponent so early in Burnley was unfortunate but, with visiting boss Vincent Kompany planning to rotate his troops, another win over a newly-promoted side could recapture some momentum before Saturday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
Sure, Cooper will probably do likewise with his squad but he knows the value of a cup run to this club and to their supporters.
And, under the lights by the Trent this evening, do not bet against Forest getting their latest trophy quest off to a successful start.