Battle Of The Unbeatable

Last updated : 12 January 2010 By DSG

The FA Cup resumes tonight, with the stand-out tie an appetising third round replay between two of this seasons surprise packages.

Premier League over-achievers Birmingham City host high-flying Championship outfit Nottingham Forest in what promises to be an enthralling encounter.

Forest are now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, having disposed of heavily fancied promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion on their last outing, while Birmingham are themselves on a run of 13 matches undefeated and have taken points off the Premier League's top two in recent weeks.

However, tonight something must give and one of the impressive runs must come to an end, with Everton awaiting the victors in the next round.

Premier League Manager of the Month Alex McLeish has hinted that their will be very few changes to his Birmingham team that drew with champions Manchester United on Sunday. New £3 million signing Michel must wait for his Blues debut as he is not eligible for this round of the competition.

In contrast it is widely expected that Billy Davies, himself winner of the Manager of the Month accolade in the Championship, will make changes to his starting line-up, with one eye on maintaining Forest's momentum in the league when they welcome Reading to the City Ground on Saturday. Nicky Shorey will certainly miss out as he is ineligible for the competition under the terms of his loan from Aston Villa and Robert Earnshaw remains a doubt having struggled to shake off a hamstring injury picked up in the warm-up prior to Forest's win at the Hawthorns.

Elsewhere in the competition, Avram Grant's struggling Portsmouth side travel to Coventry looking to heighten the mood around Fratton Park with a victory that would help detract from their on-going financial woes, while former Pompey boss Paul Hart and his new club QPR entertain fellow Championship side Sheffield United in a replay of their own.

Hart will be without on loan Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who isn't permitted to play in the competition and Blades boss Kevin Blackwell will have to cope without in-demand defender Matthew Kilgallon, who has a hamstring injury.

Derby County face League One side Millwall at Pride Park, with Nigel Clough's team undoubtedly eager to banish all memories of their recent 4-1 drubbing at the hands of fellow Championship strugglers Scunthorpe United.

While Cardiff City make the trip across the Severn Bridge for their clash with Bristol City at Ashton Gate, in the final of the FA Cup matches this evening.

- Gareth Burton

Source: DSG

Source: DSG