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Football League

Championship betting preview: Long season ahead for Forest


Nottingham Forest dropped into the Championship relegation zone on Tuesday with a humbling 4-0 home defeat to Leeds and we reckon Brighton will underline just what a long season it's going to be for the City Ground faithful by picking up a routine three points against the Reds on Saturday.

Steve Cotterill has only been in charge for eight games and he can already congratulate himself on being four points better off than Steve McClaren's final total after ten, so it's not all doom and gloom by the Trent, but Forest fans should dismiss any ideas of seeing their team emulate the standards set by Billy Davies over the previous two campaigns.

Cotterill's impact at the City Ground was instant with back to back wins over Middlesbrough and Blackpool but the honeymoon was short-lived and now the former Portsmouth boss is beginning to sound like a broken record since the Reds' shortcomings have began to resurface.

Forest have shipped ten goals in their last four matches and Cotterill has filed most of them in the folder marked 'indvidual errors', which is a cute way of saying ´there's not really much I can do about it'.

Gus Poyet, by contrast, is back in control of Brighton's form following a horrible sequence of ten winless outings and the 13/10 quote offered by Victor Chandler appears to underestimate the overall standard they have set this season.

Nobody who witnessed Albion during the opening five weeks of the campaign - when they picked up seven wins and draw from the first eight matches - could have imagined such a sequence coming about but their 1-0 win at Derby in midweek was a trademark Poyet away performance, which would suggest the Seagulls are well within themselves once again.

The result at Pride Park means Brighton have won three of the last four, while the exception is forgiveable considering it came against leaders Southampton at St Mary's, and of some significance to this bet was the sight of Craig Mackail-Smith back on the scoresheet after his own barren spell of ten matches.

The Scotland striker was operating at a rate of one goal every two games until his Euro 2012 dream was shot down by David Silva & Co in Alicante, so the Albion fans will be heading to Amex Stadium with an added spring in their step at the thought of seeing CMS back to his best.

However, defensive solidity has been the platform for Brighton's recent resurgence and we're just as encouraged by the near-misses that came immediately after the October international break as the triumphs that have followed since Guy Fawkes night.

The mishap against Nigel Adkins' men aside, Albion have conceded just four goals in their last eight matches, which partly explains why we also wish to top-up our interest on the home win with a bet on Brighton to win 2-0 at 10/1 with Stan James.

Further reasoning can also be provided by the fact that Forest have failed to score in each of the last five games they've lost and while it's unlikely Brighton will embarrass the visitors, we do envisage this being a relatively comfortable afternoon, enough to tempt us in on this standout double-figure quote on the correct score market.

Recommended bet:

2pts Brighton to beat Nottingham Forest at 5/4 (general)

0.5pt Brighton to win 2-0 at 10/1 (Stan James)

For more betting news and views, visit www.bestofthebets.com