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Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Birmingham City

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City at the City Ground.

The Nottingham Forest implosion continued last weekend and they must be wondering where the next win will come from going into Saturday's match against Birmingham City at the City Ground.

Forest conceded three late goals to fall to a 5-2 defeat to Queens Park Rangers last week and, while the final result was somewhat misleading, the collapse was indicative of an increasingly miserable period for the club.

Having appeared to be nailed on for a playoff place after a 16-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, they are now without a win in 13 - a run that stretches back more than two months.

It has been a costly run in many ways, with the club plummeting down the table and parting company with Billy Davies. New manager Stuart Pearce will come in at the end of the season, and he will have a sizable task on his hands to pick his players up after a campaign that promised so much but has yielded so little.

For now, it is caretaker boss Gary Brazil who will continue to take the reins, and he has admitted that the playoffs are now an unlikely goal for his side. Five points separate them from the top six and they are showing no signs of turning their fortunes around in the closing stages of the season.

Forest are without a win in their last six games at the City Ground, and Birmingham will take confidence from the fact that fellow relegation candidates Doncaster Rovers, Charlton Athletic and Millwall have all picked up points there in that time.

Dropped points to such teams is an indication of how far Forest have slipped in recent weeks, but they do have some good news to smile about as their lengthy injury list is shortening by the week. Chris Cohen remains sidelined, however, while Andy Reid and Jack Hobbs are doubts.

Birmingham, meanwhile, are still by no means safe from the threat of relegation, with just three points separating them from the bottom three as things stand.

However, Lee Clark's side do have a game in hand over five of the six teams below them in the table, while their goal difference is significantly better, effectively handing them an extra point in the battle against the drop.

Still, they will want to get more points on the board as soon as possible, and they will look to take advantage of a Forest team low on form and confidence despite not having beaten a single team above them in the table since the turn of the year.

They have, however, picked up maximum points against relegation rivals Millwall and Doncaster within the last month, with both victories coming away from home, where they have excelled this season. No less than 29 of their 43 points have come on the road, giving them the sixth-best away record in the division compared to the worst home record.

The visitors will still be without the injured trio of Mitch Hancox, Neal Eardley and Matthew Green, however.

Recent form

Nottm Forest: LLDLDL

Birmingham: LLWLWL

Possible starting lineups

Nottm Forest: Darlow; Peltier, Lascelles, Wilson, Harding; Jara, Greening; Mackie, Lansbury, Paterson; Derbyshire

Birmingham: Randolph; Caddis, Thorpe, Robinson, Reilly; Spector, Huws; Burke, Macheda, Novak; Zigic

Sports Mole says: 1-1


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