Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield both have bigger fish to fry despite Liverpool rewards

The Championship pair meet at the City Ground in the only remaining fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday, with the winners guaranteed a home game against Jurgen Klopp’s side in the quarter-finals

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Twelve months ago, the prospect of an FA Cup meeting with Liverpool would have been a tempting one for both of them Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest.

In fact, it would have been the only thing that would have kept their seasons from coming to an end. Both sides were stranded in mid to lower mid-table but never really in danger of going under. Huddersfield survived relegation by six points, with Forest by a further three points.

Back to today and Monday evening FA Cup The fifth-round tie gives the winners a home game with Jurgen Klopp’s side.

But a one-time ding-dong with one of the best teams in the world would be just a side issue for both teams this time.

Who will win this year’s FA Cup? Let us know in the comments

Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town meet in the fifth round of the FA Cup, with the winner playing Liverpool at home in the round of 16

Both clubs tick well together The Championship and have serious ambitions First League football next semester.

Crucially, both sides have addressed key concerns of 2020-21.

Huddersfield have surpassed their points tally from all of last season (49), while Forest’s draw at Sheffield United on Friday equalized their 52-point win last time out.

Carlos Corberan’s first season as boss of the Terriers was not a great success, but the team was unrecognizable that season. A problem for them last season was giving up – they posted a division-high 71.

Huddersfield have enjoyed an excellent 18-game unbeaten streak – a sequence that stretches back to November

Closing the back door has allowed them to win close competitions and the team are just great going at the moment. Friday’s 3-0 win over Peterborough put them into automatic second place and extended their unbeaten streak to 18 games in all competitions – dating back to the end of November.

As for Forest, they’ve been completely transformed since Steve Cooper replaced Chris Hughton in September. They finished last season as the second-worst scorers in the division, but have clearly tackled that.

They’re just three points adrift of the playoffs and the exciting brand of football Cooper lets them play is one Forest fans love.

Forest boss Steve Cooper has led the side to the brink of the play-offs after bottoming out when he took over

Both teams would readily concede that as we near spring, their bread and butter is the championship — and the rise from it.

But their respective promotions have been helped rather than dented by a good run in the FA Cup.

Huddersfield defeated the Premier League team Burnley away in round three before defeating Barnsley in round four.

As for Forest, their giant kills are over arsenal and holder leicester gave them a huge boost and got the club back on the national stage after years in the wilderness.

And so they now face off at a City Ground meeting with the prospect of home time against a side from Liverpool who are still chasing an unprecedented quadruple.

Corberan has publicly refused to discuss such a prospect, no matter how tempting.

“I think we have to think about the opponent we’re facing, not the next one,” said Corberan ahead of the trip to Nottingham.

Carlos Corberan has had a fabulous season with Huddersfield after a poor first season

“We want to do our best and stay in the cup, that’s the only goal for Monday.”

For Cooper, meeting the Reds would be a reunion of sorts for him.

The Welshman worked at the academy at Anfield between 2008 and 2013 and his good work there ended with him getting a job in England youth – the culmination of which was guiding the Three Lions U17s to World Cup success 2017 – before moving into club football.

Cooper struck a slightly different tone towards Corberan, acknowledging the giant carrot dangling in front of his side and Huddersfield.

Steve Cooper worked at Liverpool’s academy for five years

“The motivation of a cup game is of course to get through to the next round. But knowing Liverpool are next has to be a motivator, especially with the chance to be home,” Cooper said.

“But you have to focus on what it takes to get there – and that means playing well and winning the next game. That will be our focus.”

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