Are Nottingham Forest promotion favourites or an over-achieving mid-table side?

Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi.
Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi.

Which Forest will turn up against Reading tomorrow?

Wins at promotion favourites Swansea and Fulham, plus draws at Charlton and Leeds had buoyed fans' expectations as Forest hovered around the top of the table.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Tiago Silva.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Tiago Silva.

And with three "winnable" games against struggling teams after the international break, at Wigan and then Hull and Reading at home. It's fair to say excitement was building.

Defeat at lowly Wigan certainly tempered the early-season optimism. Typical Forest. Blame the coach for unnecessary changes, not starting Lewis Grabban, Tiago Silva or Joao Carvalho? Forest have never won at Wigan anyway. It's the manager-of-the-month curse. Excuses came thick and fast.

But struggling Hull City at home? Forget the fact Hull had won five out of six visits to the City Ground this century. Easy three points. Especially with Grabban, Silva and Carvalho restored to the starting line-up.

Or not, as Forest found out.

Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban

Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban

They huffed and puffed, but, after being caught on the break twice, thanks to some defensive lapses - oh for Michael Dawson's return - it was too much of a mountain to climb.

Matty Cash pulled one goal back, but for all the crosses Forest slung over in the last 20 minutes against 10-man Hull, it was easy pickings for an exceptionally well-organised defensive side.

Yes, Forest were denied one of the clearest penalties you will ever see - who knows what ref Oliver Langford saw or didn't see - but Forest shouldn't be relying on the officials. They should have enough about them to be able to open up teams at home, especially with the likes of Carvalho, Grabban and Joe Lolley.

Or do they? The counter-attacking style favoured by Sabri Lamouchi is great away from home when teams attack - witness how Stoke City, Fulham and Swansea City were picked off - but not so great against teams which sit back to defend.

Results have been excellent, but is the team as good as they suggest? Performance-wise, probably not. How many teams have Forest truly dominated? Derby in the League Cup, possibly Brentford, even if it only finished 1-0?

Cliche alert, the Championship is a tough league. Anyone can beat anyone on their day. Something certainly highlighted the latest round of games - bottom of the table Barnsley going 2-0 up at top of the table West Brom anyone? Swansea being routed at home? Hull winning at Forest.

But the other beauty of the Championship is games come thick and fast.

And Forest have a great opportunity to ensure two defeats on the bounce to struggling sides is just a blip when Reading visit tomorrow.

Yes, Reading have picked up under new manager Mark Bowen, with a home win and a draw at high-flying QPR, managed by former Forest boss Mark Warburton.

But a 2-2 draw suggests they are not as defensively organised as Hull. And Forest should have enough to pick them off. Shouldn't they?

One thing's for sure, they'll need to play better than the last two games.