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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-1
03 March 2018 Venue The City Ground Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Preview: Birmingham (H)

2 March 2018

Nottingham Forest are back in action at The City Ground on Saturday when Birmingham City are the visitors in the Sky Bet Championship.

Confidence is high in the Forest dressing room after the thumping 5-2 win against QPR last weekend, which made it three games unbeaten for Aitor Karanka's side.

The Reds will be keen to carry on where they left off for the visit of The Blues as they seek back-to-back wins.

Birmingham have had a tough time of it this season and come into this weekend's fixtures in the bottom three.

Manager Steve Cotterill has come under some pressure as their form has suffered, but his side will be fighting for everything come 3pm on Saturday.

See below for the pre-match views from the Forest camp.

Team news

The Reds are nearing full strength for Saturday's game as Michael Mancienne and Apostolos Vellios returned to the squad last weekend after being ill, while Daryl Murphy has also recovered having suffered with the same illness.

Jack Hobbs made a welcome return to training this week but David Vaughan continues to be sidelined. Eric Lichaj sits out the final match of his three-game suspension.

From the opposition

Birmingham boss Steve Cotterill has come under increasing pressure following their poor form and understands the fans' frustrations as he seeks to turn things around.

Cotterill is expecting his players to put in a committed display at The City Ground tomorrow to try and get something from the game.

He said: "I understand their frustrations I really do, I bumped into quite a few fans this week and it has been quite good for me.

"The first one said don't take it personal this has gone on for a long time, he was very supportive. Then the same happened another day, he said this has been going on a long time, you are copping the brunt of it.

"I think our fans are great, I get where they are with it, they are passionate about their club like I am about the club.

"We are on the same page. Over the last month we haven't given them the performance they deserve, I am sorry about that because it is not the performance that I or the players want."

He added: "I am expecting the players to be committed, I want them to show our supporters that they really really care about the football club.

"Commitment is paramount from our supporters. I know they don't get to see it on a daily basis but we are all committed."

One to watch - Jacques Maghoma

The attacking midfielder has come to the fore as one of Blues' key players in recent weeks and is set to take centre stage again on Saturday.

The DR Congo international had been out of favour under previous managers, but his ability to create chances and score them himself could prove crucial for Birmingham in the run-in.

Last visit

Tickets

Tickets for Saturday's match are still available and full details can be found here.

Coverage

Due to broadcasting restrictions, the match will not be shown live on iFollow Forest for international subscribers but audio commentary via BBC Radio Nottingham will be available.

There will also be full coverage via the club's social media channels and in the Match Centre.

Other fixtures

All fixtures to be played at 3pm on Saturday unless otherwise stated:

Middlesbrough v Leeds (Friday, 7.45pm)
Aston Villa v QPR
Barnsley v Norwich
Bolton v Preston
Brentford v Cardiff
Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday
Derby v Fulham
Ipswich v Hull
Millwall v Sunderland
Sheffield United v Burton
Wolves v Reading (5.30pm)

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Match Reports

Forest 2-1 Birmingham

3 March 2018

Nottingham Forest overcame Birmingham City thank to goals from Joe Lolley and Matty Cash at The City Ground this afternoon.

Michael Morrison pulled one back for the visitors to give them hope but The Reds held on for their first home win under Aitor Karanka.

The manager named an unchanged side to the one which defeated QPR emphatically last weekend, and Forest carried on from where they left off at Loftus Road.

The Reds started the game well, moving the ball about confidently and went in front early on through Lolley's first City Ground goal.

The winger received the ball from a neat Lee Tomlin flick and drove towards goal, hitting a left-footed shot which squirmed past David Stockdale and into the bottom corner.

Both sides were exchanging spells of possession and on 15 minutes Birmingham created their first opening. Jacques Maghoma got in down the Forest left and played a ball back to the edge of the box for the arriving Maikel Kieftenbeld who blazed over but should have done better with his effort.

Blues had another opportunity on 20 as a Craig Gardner free kick found its way to the back post to Harlee Dean but his cross-shot drifted wide amid calls for offside from the Forest defence.

Forest maintained control of the game for the rest of the half without causing too much of a threat to the Birmingham goal, but started brightly in the second as only some superb goalkeeping from Stockdale kept Cash at bay.

Lolley pulled it back for the midfielder on 51 minutes and he hit a rasping shot which was tipped onto the bar by an instinctive fingertip stop by the Birmingham keeper.

Moments later, he was called into action again as Tomlin spread the play for Tendayi Darikwa in space down the right, and the full back's low shot was parried behind. Cash then found himself in space on the right just after the hour mark but Daryl Murphy, on as a half-time substitute, could only flick an effort wide of the target.

Blues began to build some pressure on the Forest goal, introducing Lukas Jutkiewicz to add extra impetus into their attack, but The Reds' defence stood firm, with Costel Pantilimon forced into a save on 70 as he got a hand to Sam Gallagher's header from a corner, then parrying Jutkiewicz's long-range effort.

Despite their pressure, it was Forest who found the crucial second goal on 79 minutes and it came through Cash as he scored his second goal in as many games. The winger received a superb cross-field pass from Ben Osborn and took it in his stride before firing a driven effort into the bottom corner of the net.

Osborn almost found a third a few minutes later as he cut inside from the left flank, shimmied past his man and then curled a right-footed effort just wide of the target.

But Blues got themselves back into the game with three minutes remaining through their captain Morrison. The centre back rose highest from a corner and powered a header past Pantilimon to give the visitors hope.

It proved to be just a consolation goal though as Forest were able to see the game out and ensure the fans who braved the freezing conditions were rewarded with three valuable points.

Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Figueiredo, Fox, Osborn, Watson (c), Colback, Cash, Tomlin (Guedioura 72'), Lolley, Brereton (Murphy 46')

Unused subs: Kapino, Mancienne, Dowell, Vellios, Worrall

Goals: Lolley 6', Cash 79'

Booking: Darikwa 67'

Birmingham: Stockdale, Jenkinson, Morrison (c), Dean, Colin, Lowe (Jutkiewicz 65'), Cardner, Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Boga 80'), Adams, Gallagher

Unused subs: Trueman, Roberts, Bramall, Ndoye, Jota

Goal: Morrison 87'

Bookings: Morrison 28', Kieftenbeld 83'

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 23,296 (1,991 away)

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