Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Brighton & Hove Albion

Britt Assombalonga of Nottingham Forest celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Fulham at the City Ground on September 17, 2014
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Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between league leaders Nottingham Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion at the City Ground.

Championship league leaders Nottingham Forest will look to extend their unbeaten start to the new season when they host Brighton & Hove Albion at the City Ground this Saturday.

Stuart Pearce has hit the ground running as manager of the club, amassing 18 points from his opening eight matches to leave Forest as one of two teams yet to taste defeat in the second tier.

No side has scored more in the division, with Forest netting 17 times already, eight of which have come from big-money summer signing Britt Assombalonga - the highest individual tally so far.

Despite their formidable start to the league campaign, Pearce will be forced to pick his players up from a League Cup exit after Tottenham Hotspur scored three times in the final 20 minutes to come from behind and record a 3-1 victory in the third round on Wednesday.

Their last league outing also saw them held to a goalless draw by Millwall at The Den - the first time Forest have failed to score in a match since March.

Despite those minor blips, Pearce will be delighted with how things have gone so far, and he will take a lot of confidence from the fact that this side have dropped just two points at home in the current campaign.

The hosts could be without Jack Hunt after he picked up a knock against Millwall, but a host of players are expected to return to the side following the League Cup clash in midweek.

While Forest have flourished under a new boss, Brighton have struggled to adapt to Sami Hyypia since his summer arrival at the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls began the campaign with playoff ambitions, but after eight matches they find themselves 18th in the table with eight points to their name.

They are without a victory in four league outings and have failed to score in their last two, including a hugely disappointing goalless draw at home to struggling Blackpool last weekend.

A comfortable victory over Burton Albion in the League Cup on Wednesday has set up a fourth-round showdown with Forest's conquerors Tottenham, but for now full focus has to be on a tricky run of league fixtures coming up.

After Forest, Brighton must take on Cardiff City, Watford and Middlesbrough as they look to re-establish themselves amongst the playoff contenders.

Hyypia is expected to make a number of changes to his side from the midweek victory, with Sam Baldock amongst those in line for a recall.

Recent form

Nottm Forest: LDWDWW

Brighton: WDLLDW

Possible starting lineups

Nottm Forest: Darlow; Fox, Mancienne, Wilson, Lichaj; Vaughan, Tesche, Burke, Lansbury, Antonio, Assombalonga

Brighton: Stockdale; Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Bennett; Crofts, Holla, Forster-Caskey; Colunga, Baldock, Joao Carlos

Sports Mole says: 3-0

Who will win Saturday's match between Nottingham Forest and Brighton at the City Ground?

Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest
Millwall manager Ian Holloway looks on during his team's Championship match against Ipswich on January 18, 2014
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