What A Difference A Year Makes
Forest will make the short trip across the Midlands on Saturday to take on automatic promotion wannabes Birmingham City. The two clubs have contrasting fortunes compared to this time last year, with City flying high in 3rd place and in fine form, whilst the Reds' sit one place above the relegation zone and fighting for their lives.
Under the guidance of Chris Hughton and former Forest boss Colin Calderwood, the Blues are in a good run of form that sees them unbeaten in 15 league and cup games. Their last defeat was back in December, when they lost 1-0 away at Crystal Palace. Forest go into the game having won for the first time in 6 league games, following the 2-0 home win over Coventry last week. If Steve Cotterill can resist the temptation to change the side that ended the second half in that game, we may have a chance. But, Cotterill has found it difficult to pick the same side in successive games since replacing Steve McClaren in October, even when following a victory.
The fixture at the City Ground earlier this season, saw the Reds' throw away a 1-0 first half lead. We looked to be home and dry, but capitulated and lost the game 3-1. The fallout from the game, amidst fan protests before, during and after the match, was the resignation of both manager Steve McClaren and Chairman Nigel Doughty.
This time last season, we were chasing automatic promotion ourselves, whilst the Blues were languishing just above the drop zone in the Premier League.
Birmingham City Team News:
Hughton will be able to recall Stephen Carr, who missed the 2-1 win at Barnsley in midweek through suspension. Nikola Zigic and Guirane N'Daw could make a return, after missing the trip to Barnsley through injury.
Player to watch: Nikola Zigic
The 6ft 8in Sebian international is a giant. He may have only found the net 8 times in 28 appearances so far this campaign, but he'll be more than capable of giving our fragile defence a torrid time.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Greg Cunningham has reportedly returned to training this week, but the game will probably come too early for him to be in contention following a hamstring injury. Ishmael Miller and Marlon Harewood will both miss the trip, as they recover from hamstring injuries of their own. Brendan Moloney has not yet recovered from his niggling thigh injury, whilst long-term injury victim Chris Cohen still remains sidelined.
Player to watch: Andy Reid
Please God Cotterill selects Reid from the start. He has been our only creative player since signing in the summer and the only player who looks capable of producing anything of note. Expect him to be named as one of the subs!
Match Facts & Stats
There have been a total of 87 league meetings between the two sides, in which Forest have won 33, drawn 24 and lost 30. Earlier this season, we lost 3-1 to the Blues at the City Ground.
I can't see anything other than a 2-0 defeat for us I'm afraid. Please prove us wrong Mr. Cotterill.
Barnsley (a). Sat 3 March. KO: 3pm.