Date: 11th January 2017 at 2:29pm
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Birmingham City are back in league action this weekend as they entertain Nottingham Forest at St Andrews, with Gianfranco Zola still searching for his first win as Blues boss.

Forest sit 20th in the Championship, just two points above the relegation and are on a run of six defeats from their last seven in all competitions.

If Zola is to get his first three points against the East Midland strugglers then I think that Maikel Kieftenbeld will be key to it.

He was excellent in last Saturday`s FA Cup tie against Newcastle and I think we could see a real midfield battle against Forest.

If the visitors don’t include Henri Lansbury in their squad, as they did last week, then that would be a huge plus for Blues as he is a man that can really pull the strings.

Kieftenbeld might not seem the player he was last season but he does a lot of work that goes unnoticed and there are signs that he is getting back to his best.

I think he has fully taken on board what Zola is looking to get out of this team and his technical side of the game has improved in recent weeks.

However, his tenacious, hard working side of the game remains and he is a real key player for Blues.

If he can play a part in winning that midfield battle on Saturday, then I think we`ll be halfway to gaining a positive result from the game.

High pressure from the likes of Kieftenbeld in the early stages of the game could really put Forest on the back foot and it’s crucial that we make the most of our dominance when we’re on top.

Without putting too much pressure on Zola and the team, this game does almost feel like a must-win as the gap between us and the play-offs already stands at seven points.

Blues don’t want to be playing catchup so it’s vital that we take three points from this game that would also mark Zola`s first win as Blues manager.

 
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