The Reds travel to St Andrews in the West Midlands to try to build upon their first win in six games at the weekend. There aren’t many places less likely to yield a win for us (well, in fairness, you could probably select most of the top half of the table and find it rather daunting). However, the thrill of three points and the glad viewing of not being in the relegation zone thanks to Pompey’s fiscal foolishness may have ignited a bit more belief in the Forest camp.
Our hosts are following a path more predicted at the start of the season compared to us – chasing a return to the Premier League and still very much within the potential suitors for the automatic promotion places. Chris Hughton knows about getting promoted from this league, and is enjoying an unbeaten run of fifteen league and cup matches that sees them in third place, a mere five points behind Southampton with a game in hand.
On the team front Greg Cunningham is back in training but might struggle to dislodge George Elokobi from the left back berth (let’s face it, a Sherman Tank would have trouble doing that!). Missing through injury are Ishmael Miller and Marlon Harewood both with hamstring injuries, Brendan Moloney with a thigh injury and of course the longer term injury suffered by Chris Cohen is still keeping the midfielder out of the picture.
The Blues look in pretty good shape – Stepehen Carr is a doubt having missed their midweek game at Barnsley. Jonathan Spector limped out of the game but despite fears of something more serious it appears he’s simply picked up a bit of cramp. Zigic and N’Daw had both been out of contention midweek due to injury but might find themselves back in the picture for the visit of the Reds.
Of course, it was our earlier meeting with Birmingham this season that led to a disappointing finish from the Reds. We led for a good while before succumbing and losing 3-1. This game sparked ugly scenes from a vocal minority after the game and ultimately saw both Steve McClaren and Nigel Doughty tender their resignations as manager and chairman post-match. What might have happened if Majewski had squared the ball to Miller for a tap-in after an hour instead of trying to beat Myhill from a tight angle. We’d have been 2-0 up then.
Even without putting my grumpy hat on this is a tough looking trip. Whilst it’s easy to look at the Coventry match and hope that we can continue the second half momentum into this match, we must also remember that Birmingham ain’t Coventry, they’re actually rather a good side. I would be flabbergasted (and of course delighted!) to see us snag three points here, so would have to conclude that bagging a draw would be a very credible result for us right now.
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