Nottingham Forest v Birmingham - Friday 19:45

Gary Rowett has never been one for setting targets but admits he has a “gut feeling” that Birmingham can sustain their play-off push for much longer than they could last year. Blues are currently seven unbeaten and find themselves one point adrift of the pace they were setting at this stage 12 months ago, with a bigger squad and much better alternatives in attack.

Forest are currently winless in six, having conceded twice in five of those matches. Indeed, the Reds have leaked an average of exactly two goals per game this term - the second-worst defensive record in the division. On that basis alone, you’d have to say the 11/5 quotes about the away win look attractive. The hosts have lost all five games against top-nine opposition.

Philippe Montanier starts a two-match touchline ban for comments made about referee Kevin Friend in the 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last month, the second of four successive matches that Forest have taken the lead and failed to win. They’ve squandered 11 points in that spell, and 15 points in total this term, so confidence is likely to be fragile.

Given that Blues kept ten clean sheets on the road last season, and the fact they’ve conceded only three in five away games this term, the 9/2 win to nil price would be tempting but the fact that Forest have scored in every home game. Much better is the 6/1 about Birmingham to clear the -1 handicap. It’s a bet they landed in six of their seven away victories last term.

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Birmingham to win - 1pt @ 11/5
Birmingham -1 on the handicap - 1pt @ 6/1