Forest vs. Birmingham City preview..

At first the cup draw felt a bit ‘meh’, I mean, Birmingham City?  Hardly a glamour tie, but one that would prove troublesome to overcome.  That of course comes from a fan like me who is largely blissfully ignorant of the Premier League – and hadn’t realised what a tremendous run the Blues are on, and what a perfect test this could prove to be for the lads.  Birmingham of course, are doing exactly what we are starting to aspire to.

Both sides put impressive unbeaten runs on the line for the fixture – our visitors haven’t lost in eleven games, we haven’t lost in sixteeen – of course, we could revert to unbeaten league runs should things not go quite according to plan!  Despite both managers stating they will be taking this game seriously – Billy to use it as a barometer for the development of his side, and McLeish must surely have half an eye on a good cup run for his Birmingham side – both are expected to make changes.

Billy won’t be able to call on newly re-loaned Nicky Shorey, so I expect to see Cohen named at left back (or possibly Lynch), but aside from that there won’t be any other restrictions on Billy.  Whether he’ll give Smith a run out over Camp remains to be seen, and he might consider resting either Wilson or Morgan for Chambers.  But then again, since when have I been able to second-guess Billy?  He might also look to give McKenna a rest for more crucial league games to come.

Our visitors will be without Carr, who is suspended – and will be featuring impressive youngster Joe Hart in goal as Maik Taylor is injured.  Aside from that they have few injury concerns to prevent them putting out a strong side which will certainly prove a challenge, and I’m informed they’ve also sold an impressive number of tickets so they away end should be heaving.  Given the traditional indifference Forest fans seem to show the early stages of the cup, the away fans should dominate the atmosphere!

Birmingham’s recent excellent run has been partially boosted by a consistent team selection – McLeish has named an unchanged side for their last eight games in the top flight.  Given Carr’s suspension and his desire to field some fringe players, this policy is clearly set to change.  With a bit of luck he’ll rest Lee Bowyer who’s been on cracking form for the Blues, and keeping Cameron Jerome on the bench wouldn’t be bad either thanks, Alex!

It was only back in February 2009 that Forest last played Birmingham – this time at St. Andrews.  A wasteful-infront-of-goal Forest side went down 2-0 with Marcus Bent scoring a close range effort and Fahey spooning a cross which then lobbed Smith and ended up in the net.  The Blues went on to automatic promotion, the Reds of course limped to safety – but check out the team we fielded compared to now:

Moloney Chambers   Morgan   Wilson   Heath
McGugan    Cohen
Garner    Tyson

I’m assuming a bit on formations as I didn’t head to St. Andrews last season – but you know that it’s not the most convincing of games when you’re chucking on Breckin with five minutes to go to salvage, well, presumably to not let in another goal!  How times have changed, huh?

A New Year greeting from Billy Davies..

Anyone else noticed Billy’s repeated insistence that League Tables are meaningless before January?  Well it’s January now!  A very happy new year to you all, and of course most definitely to Billy and the boys – keep up the sterling work! You Reds!