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By ESPN Staff

Hughes expects return to form against Birmingham

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has shrugged off his side's sudden nosedive in form as he prepares for tomorrow night's Carling Cup third round clash with Birmingham at Ewood Park.

Seven days ago Hughes' men were on a roll having extended a fine end to the previous campaign and stretched their unbeaten record in all competitions to 15 matches.

But their UEFA Cup defeat in Greece to Larissa followed by last weekend's home Premier League reversal to Portsmouth has caused many to re-evaluate Rovers' aspirations this season.

But Hughes said: 'We are not beating ourselves up and we know we have just to got get back on track. We were disappointed in Greece but if we had got an early goal against Portsmouth it would have been a different game.

'We've got the quality players who can produce opportunities and we have proved that given the right opportunities we will convert them. We've had a couple of setbacks but we know we are still a good team.

'There are certainly no great problems with the make-up of the team. Two results have gone against us but prior to that we had gone 15 games without defeat. It is unrealistic to expect us to be unbeaten in every game.'

Hughes intends to name a strong side for tomorrow's clash with Steve Bruce's men as he looks to continue his side's interest in a competition which has yielded trips to the semi-finals in recent seasons.

Matt Derbyshire and Jason Roberts will be pushing to start and while New Zealand defender Ryan Nelsen is still sidelined, Hughes revealed his hamstring problem is not as serious as first feared.

Hughes said: 'We've had good news from Ryan's scan. His hamstring is fine and it's just a bit of scar tissue which has released itself. He's had a similar feeling before and he was back very quickly.'