Forest will be without long-term absentees Paul Anderson, George Boateng, Garath McCleary, Chris Cohen and Dexter Blackstock. Steve McLaren may wish to make other changes after the performance in midweek.
Birmingham could have defenders Curtis Davies and Stephen Carr back who missed the trip to Maribor.
The last meeting was in February 2009 and ended 2-0 to Blues with goals by Marcus Bent and Keith Fahey (Which might have been a cross, depends who you ask).
Our last visit to the City Ground was the previous November and finished 1-1.
Forest sit 20th one place behind Blues despite having played two more games. They have lost five of their last six games in all competitions and on Tuesday were hammered 5-1 by Burnley. They have yet to win at home this season.
Thursday’s win against Maribor was only Blues second win in six games. It was also the first away win since beating West Ham in February.
So having just touched down from Slovenia it’s off to Nottingham to play against another club who are probably surprised to find themselves at the wrong end of the table. Forest were one of the teams tipped to challenge for promotion after they had acquired new players and a high profile new manager. That manager is already under pressure though after a terrible start to the season. Steve McClaren is not enjoying his return to England football and recent defeats against local rivals Derby County and that embarrassment at Burnley can’t have helped. Forest fans have yet to see their side win at home this season so maybe they are ripe for the taking.
But of course the problem is that Blues don’t win away do they. In the whole of 2010 and so far 2011 we have only won three times in the league away from St Andrews. In all cases the side we beat went on to be relegated that season. Add to that the effect of the trip to Maribor and the performance against Barnsley last week I can’t really be that optimistic. Last week’s preview was pretty optimistic and look how that turned out. I sat through a first eighty minutes which consisted almost entirely of our players giving the ball away and falling over. Hopefully the City Ground pitch won’t prove to be as slippy. Curtis Davies and Stephen Carr are tipped to return which will help the defense although neither Barnsley or Maribor particularly broke us down. Barnsley were mostly restricted to long shots one of which was pretty spectacular.
For me the problem is the midfield which seems to change every match. Aside from Chris Burke on the right the other positions are far from settled. Jean Beausejour moves from the left to the middle every other game although I expect him to stay wide for a while as Chris Hughton has probably realised that Nathan Redmond needs to be used sparingly. It’s unfair to expect him to be brilliant every game at his age although that didn’t stop some of the idiots in the crowd getting on his back last Saturday. I’m warming to Gomis in central midfield but none of the other options (Spector, Elliot, Fahey and N’Daw) have impressed. I’d probably choose Wade Elliot for this game as his goal on Thursday will have given him confidence and at least he tries to get forward to support the strikers. Chris Wood, Marlon King and Nikola Zigic will take the chances if the midfield can create them.
So it’ll be an interesting match as the side who can’t win at home meets the side that can’t win away. It’s got draw written all over it. If you’re going enjoy yourself but watch out for the Nottinghamshire constabulary, they like to “Kettle” people. Last time I and many other fans were escorted back to the train station straight after the match and I wasn’t even taking the train!!
My prediction 1-1.
C’mon you Blue Boys.