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Nottingham Forest striker excited by West Ham test

20:01 03 January 2014

Simon Cox (Photo by Tim Keeton/Getty Images)

Simon Cox (Photo by Tim Keeton/Getty Images)

2013 Getty Images

Nottingham Forest striker Simon Cox is relishing the prospect of a taste of the top flight against West Ham in the FA Cup.

Forest will face Premier League opposition in a competitive match for the first time in almost 18 months when Sam Allardyce’s team arrive at the City Ground on Sunday.

The last time was in August 2012 when Wigan won 4-1 on the banks of the River Trent in the League Cup - a game which saw Cox score the Reds’ consolation goal.

Forest harbour realistic ambitions this season of ending their 15-year absence from the top flight and Cox sees the visit of the Hammers as a taste of what might be.

“It’s going to be a tough task but if we get to the Premier League next season we’ll be going up against this sort of team week in, week out, which obviously is what we want to be doing,” said the Republic of Ireland international.

“You don’t necessarily like to play sides from your own league because it can feel like any other game, but this is a match everyone is looking forward to. It’ll be a good test for us.”

Cox had scored four goals in seven games before missing Forest’s 2-0 Boxing Day win over QPR, consequently having to settle for substitute appearances against Leeds and former club Reading.

Fully fit again and in contention to start the third round tie, he hopes to begin another scoring run on Sunday.

“It would be nice to score against West Ham because they’re a Premier League team, but a goal is a goal no matter who it’s against,” said Cox.

“This season the gaffer has told me to forget about dropping into midfield, stick to the 18-yard box and score goals. That’s what I’m here to do and that’s what I feel I have been doing of late.”

Meanwhile, Forest defender Danny Collins hopes to make his return to action against the team he helped win promotion to the Premier League.

Collins, sidelined by an ankle injury since October, was part of the Hammers squad that sealed a return to the top flight in 2012 after joining the Londoners on loan from Stoke towards the end of a campaign which ended with victory at Wembley in the Championship play-off final.

The Wales international told the Reds’ matchday programme: “It would be nice to go out there and get some minutes under my belt.

“It’s been tough looking out of the gym window and seeing the boys train every day. I hate watching from the sidelines but hopefully I can put that behind me and be a part of the run in.

“West Ham are a great club with a good fan base. I enjoyed contributing to their promotion and, if I get the chance, I look forward to playing against some familiar faces on Sunday.”

Midfielders David Vaughan, on loan from Sunderland, and Djamal Abdoun will be checked on after both missed the Championship draw at Reading on New Year’s Day.

Striker Darius Henderson will be available for selection on Sunday after completing a three-match suspension.

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