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Forest should justify their odds-on status

Blunt Birmingham lack firepower

Aitor Karanka has had unwavering backing from Forest owner Evangelos Makrinakis
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 5.30pm Saturday

Big-spending Nottingham Forest have had a fairly quiet start to the season but they remain unbeaten and can add another three points by defeating struggling Birmingham at the City Ground.

Aitor Karanka has been asking for patience from the Forest fans, whose expectations were raised by an influx of new signings.

Understandably, it is taking time for some of the players to settle down and Forest looked nothing like title contenders when scraping a barely deserved 2-2 draw at Wigan last Saturday.

However, Karanka has had a full week to work with his squad on the training ground, while Birmingham gaffer Garry Monk has had to dust his players down following a 1-0 loss at Bolton on Wednesday.

Monk bemoaned his team's bad luck after watching them dominate for long periods and win the shot count 18 to eight.

But it was a familiar story for the Blues, who have gone four matches without scoring since a 2-2 draw at home to Norwich on the opening weekend.

Birmingham were the second tier's joint-lowest scorers last season with 38 goals and efforts to address their attacking deficiencies have been hampered by EFL transfer restrictions.

A transfer embargo was in place for most of the summer, followed by a slight easing of the conditions which allowed the club to secure low-budget loan signings and free transfers.

Pacy striker Omar Bogle arrived from Cardiff on a season-long loan and he has gone straight into the side.

But Bogle is unproven in the Championship and may not be the answer to Birmingham's problems.

Without a cutting edge City may continue to play good football without getting much of a reward.

Forest have had a very different summer, leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to assemble a squad possessing quality and strength in depth.

Karanka's side are still a long way from being the finished article and will probably not hit their stride until well into the autumn.

However, they have plenty of match winning talent in the squad and should justify odds-on favouritism.

Recommendation
Nottingham Forest
2pts 19-20 bet365

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Team news
Nottingham Forest
Adlene Guedioura (head) is a doubt but no other injuries have been reported.

Birmingham
Craig Gardner is available after completing a suspension and there are no fresh injuries since the 1-0 loss at Bolton on Wednesday.

Key stat
Birmingham have lost ten of their last 11 away games.


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Birmingham have lost ten of their last 11 away games
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