Managerless Nottingham Forest take a trip to Elland Road to take on Thomas Christiansen`s Leeds in today`s Championship clash.
Mark Warburton, got canned yesterday, so very little has emerged from the club about today`s match – other than Jordan Smith`s post match comments:
‘The last two games have been unacceptable from us as a squad, but we are expecting a big crowd there, with vocal support, so we need to get on top of that and quieten them down quickly.
It is a big game as it is Leeds vs Nottingham Forest which has historical elements to it, on Sky, on New Year’s Day so it is a big game whichever way you shape it – but there are no easy games and you just have to deal with it. We need points on the board but it is a chance for us to show what we can do.’
Leeds United Team News:
Samuel Saiz is expected to start whilst Thomas Christiansen is likely to welcome Eunan O`Kane back into his squad – although, Ronaldo Vieira faces a fitness test to determine his involvement. Caleb Ekuban and Stuart Dallas are the only ‘known` absentees.
Player to watch: Kemar Roofe
The 24 year old former Oxford Striker joined Leeds for £3m in July 2016 and is their top scorer with 10 in 25 appearances this season, including 1 against Forest in August.
Otherwise, Leeds share their goals throughout the side, but Samuel Saiz is another worthy of note on 9 goals from 23 appearances.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
It`s hard to say whether Gary Brazil will make or be able to make many changes to the side that has been comfortably beaten in the last 2 games – anyone who watched the game would probably want to change 5 or 6 players!
Matt Mills, Tendayi Darikwa, Jack Hobbs, Danny Fox and Chris Cohen are all still thought to be injured, whilst David Vaughan can`t play 2 games in a matter of days and Daryl Murphy limped off in Saturday`s defeat.
Liam Bridcutt is likely to return against his former club but is on 9 bookings but could Apostolis Vellios return from the cold for his first league start?
Jamie Ward and Zach Clough could also start.
Player to watch: Gary Brazil
The caretaker manager is in his 3rd spell in charge and quite frankly needs to work miracles from the shambles that the players have produced recently, in order to get anything from the game.
Of the 20 games he has managed, Forest have won just 6 and lost 11, so it doesn`t bode well for a side that can`t defend and now appear unable to score.
Match Facts & Stats
Leeds are 5th in the table with 42 points from 25 games, scoring 37 and conceding just 28 (w13, d3, l9).
Leeds have lost just once in their last 6 games, against Birmingham on Saturday – but they have won 4 of those 6 games, including their last 2 games at home without conceding a goal.
After their latest home defeat, the club`s heirachy took the decision to axe Warburton with the reds dropping to 14th position in the Championship, with 31 points from their 25 games (w10, d1, l14) – scoring 33 but with a 42 conceded – only Birmingham have lost more games.
In stark contrast to their hosts, Forest have lost 4 of their last 6 games and have failed to score in their last 2 games – but, in the last away fixture they did halt a run of 4 defeats to claim a point at PNE.
Jeremy Simpson has been appointed as this afternoon`s Referee, which will be his 24th game in the middle this season, the previous 23 have seen 97 yellow and 5 red cards. Last season officiated 40 games, which saw him awared 166 yellows and 6 red cards.
Mr Simpson, who only game this season involving Forest was the defeat to Ipswich, will be ably assisted by Shaun Hudson and Nick Hopton, with Michael Salisbury as the Fourth Official.
Leeds beat Forest comfortably 0-2 in the reverse fixture, with Jeremy Simpson as Referee, in late August and are odds on favourites to claim a home win against a Forest side that are in woeful form, beset by injuries and without a manager.
Forest have not won away since November, losing 4 of the last 5 away – although, clinging to the slightest bit of hope – that win was on Sky against Hull with Jeremy Simpson reffing. Sadly, a comfortable home win appears likely.
Forest welcome FA Cup holders Arsenal to the City Ground for a most likely brief involvement in the FA Cup on Sunday 7th January, KO 4-00pm.