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Forest defender Matt Mills scored twice as Nottingham Forest moved above managerless Fulham in the Championship.

Dorus de Vries denied Ross McCormack and Matt Smith as Fulham looked for the opening goal, and those saves proved vital when Mills’ close-range header gave Forest a half-time lead.

Chris O’Grady pounced to convert Nelson Oliveira’s parried shot for 2-0, before another Mills header from a corner.

Mills was then denied a hat-trick when his late header struck the bar.

Following two draws in his first two games in caretaker charge of Fulham, Peter Grant saw his side enjoy the better chances in the opening exchanges.

The visitors tested De Vries after just five minutes, but the goalkeeper kept out McCormack’s flicked header before denying Smith when he connected with Ben Pringle’s whipped cross.

The half looked to be ending goalless after O’Grady’s long-range drive for Forest and another McCormack effort for the visitors, but Mills rose highest to convert a clever overhead kick from Oliveira.

Forest doubled their advantage soon after the break when O’Grady pounced to fire home from six yards after the ball ran free.

Fulham pressed for a way back into the match, but De Vries again proved to be a reliable barrier, this time saving a long-range strike from Tom Cairney.

The midfielder then skewed a header off target when well positioned, and that miss proved costly when Mills scored his second and his team’s third minutes later.

Despite the bar denying the defender a hat-trick of headers in injury time, a third win in four games eased the pressure on boss Dougie Freedman, whose Forest side moved into 15th with Fulham – winless in five games – one place below them.