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Birtles upbeat for play-offs

Garry Birtles says Nottingham Forest fans should not worry about past play-offs despair as Sheffield United will have wanted to have avoided the Reds in the semi-finals.

Forest have lost in all four of their previous play-off campaigns without making it to Wembley. The most painful of those eliminations is up for a rather unpalatable debate, but defeat to the Blades in 2003 would top the poll of misery for some fans.

Forest’s opponents are also lacking in play-off pedigree having missed out eight times, although they have at least made a final. European Cup winner Birtles says history is irrelevant as he backs the Reds to make through given head coach Steve Cooper’s attacking outlook. If not Sheffield United, Forest would have played Luton Town, but Birtles says his old club should focus on how they can hurt teams.

“Nobody wants to play us believe me. We saw what happened at Luton on that tight pitch. Yeah, we got done by refereeing mistakes again, although they had a bad one as well,” he said on the latest Garibaldi Red podcast.

“I’ve been told Luton have lots of injuries so it might have been a good time to play them, but with the away leg first, Sheffield United know they have to go for it. If they go for it, we could punish them with our pace. We’ve got so many players now who can chip in with goals and make a difference.

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