Forssell lifted by goalscoring return for Birmingham

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After a 20-month lay-off through injury Mikael Forssell finally believes his season is up and running. The 24-year-old forward scored Birmingham's first goal in their FA Cup fourth-round replay win over Reading on Tuesday and is aiming to get back to the sort of goalscoring form that prompted the Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, to spend £3m on him last June.

"I'm getting there," he said. "The sharpness is definitely returning. You always hope that you'll come straight back in on a high but nature doesn't work that way. You have to work your way back into it and you have to be patient but often just as you think you're at it again, you get a little injury to slow you down. I've been injured a lot so to get 90 minutes against Reading is vital match practice for me. I'm feeling very good and, step by step, I'm getting sharper. That goal I liked a lot," he said.

"It's an opportunity to build confidence," said the Finland international, who has scored four of his five goals this season in cup competitions. "It gives players who haven't figured as much a chance and we showed we can win games and that can only help. We've been unlucky to get three away draws but the Cup is great. The way confidence builds as you go along [is vital]. With any luck, we could even win it."

The winger Julian Gray booked Birmingham's place in the fifth round with a header 20 minutes from time after Steve Hunt's well-taken volley had cancelled out Forssell's early strike.

Birmingham travel to Upton Park on Monday hoping to build on Tuesday's victory as they attempt to pull clear of the relegation zone. Worries that the Cup run would become a distraction were brushed off by Forssell. "We're delighted to be through to the next round but already we're thinking about Monday's game at West Ham because these next four League games are going to be so important for us. West Ham, Middlesbrough, Albion, Sunderland - we're ready for this," he said.

"We've got 20 points now and if we could get nine, even 10 points, from those four games, then we'd give ourselves a great chance," he added. "But I don't want to talk too much like this because, honestly, we do take one game at a time. We concentrate on West Ham on Monday. It's not going to be easy because they're playing very well, so we're just focusing on that game."

Bruce recently added to his array of strikers in the transfer window, buying D J Campbell from the League One side Brentford as well as bringing in the veteran Chris Sutton from Celtic. The added competition, however, does not worry Forssell. "All I can say is I'm ready to play. We have four strikers now competing for two places. D J Campbell came and looked really sharp. I really like his style and even though he's taken a massive step, it doesn't seem to bother him."

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