Pre-Xmas test of Forest's promotion chances

The action starts with a trip to the Riverside Stadium where pre-season promotion favourites Middlesbrough have struggled on occasion this season to please a demanding home crowd.

New manager Gordon Strachan will have relished the chance of two weeks work with his players after disappointing results in his first games in charge.

Forest will then be favourites to take three points from a home game against Doncaster but will do well to remember Rovers' last visit to the City Ground.

A 4-2 win on Boxing Day last year spelled the end for Colin Calderwood.

Leicester City follow Doncaster into town, having carried on their title-winning form from last season into the present campaign.

Then it is a short trip to Sheffield to face a United side who have failed so far to live up to pre-season expectations.

Manager Kevin Blackwell has had to contend with a host of injury problems and feels his players are starting to turn the corner after some battling displays in recent weeks.

A longer journey to South Wales follows with Swansea City the hosts, Paulo Sousa's men buoyed by a recent victory in their local derby clash with Cardiff.

Preston complete the six-game sequence when they come to Nottingham on the Saturday before Christmas.