Nottingham Forest vs Birmingham City
preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Djed Spence of Nottingham Forest is challenged by Lukas Jutkiewicz of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on October 02, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

With games in hand over every team in the Championship except Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest are definitely in the promotion race following a nine-game unbeaten run in the league (W6, D3). A routine win over Coventry City on Wednesday saw Forest end the day fifth, inside the play-off places. A loss for Bournemouth, though, means that the second automatic spot may still be up for grabs, with the Reds looking well placed to hunt the Cherries down. 

As for Birmingham City, the Blues will be solely focused on next season now as neither promotion nor relegation concerns Lee Bowyer at this stage. However, a shock 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion last time out indicates that the West Midlands club aren’t ‘on the beach’ just yet. Birmingham’s winning goal did come courtesy of Lyle Taylor though, a player who is ineligible for this fixture as he is on loan from Nottingham Forest. The loss of an important player will do the Blues no favours as they look to win their second game on the road since October. 

Team news

There are no new injury concerns for Steve Cooper as Forest came through the home game against Coventry City unscathed. 

Lewis Grabban made his second appearance off the bench since his ankle injury in January whilst Brice Samba kept his place in goal ahead of Ethan Horvath. 

Defenders Max Lowe and Steve Cook remain sidelined through injury.

Max is going to be a little bit slower than Cookie, as we know. We haven’t seen them yet, in terms of being close to the training pitch,” Steve Cooper told Nottinghamshire Live

They are very visible around the training ground and on match days. They are on course, but there’s a little while to go yet.”

Birmingham have had their fair share of injuries this season and Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong will be out for this fixture after pulling his hamstring against West Brom

George Friend will miss this fixture but is likely to be back in training next week, whilst Troy Deeney is in contention to play a part against Forest after a full week in training and minutes with the under 23s. 

Predicted lineups

Nottingham Forest: Samba, Spence, Worrall, Figueiredo, McKenna, Colback, Yates, Garner, Zinckernagel, Johnson, Davis

Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Roberts, Gordon, Hernandez, Bacuna, Gardner, Pedersen, Richards, Hogan, Jutkiewicz

Ones to watch

Brennan Johnson

The 20-year-old is now on 21 Championship goal involvements this season (14G, 7A) and has scored the opener with three of his last four home goals.

Troy Deeney

The Birmingham striker will want to make an impact after returning from injury. All three of Deeney’s personal goal involvements against Forest have come at the City Ground (2G, 1A). 

Previous meetings

The last time these two sides met was Steve Cooper’s second win as Forest manager, back in October. The Reds ran away with all three points as Lewis Grabban, Ryan Yates and Djed Spence helped Forest to a 3-0 win. 

How to watch

This match is on Saturday, April 9, and kicks off at 15:00 BST. This game is unavailable to watch in the UK and Ireland but can be live streamed via either club website for those abroad.