Leeds United travels to Nottingham Forest tomorrow for a middle of the table, post-Boxing Day matchup.
There have been cracking games between these two sides at the City Ground over recent seasons, the most poignant being the 4-nil defeat of the home team by Leeds in November 2011. That game was played shortly after the death of Leeds United legend Gary Speed. On the 11th minute, Whites fans chanted the name of Gary Speed for an emotional 11 minutes as tribute to their hero. It was fitting then that the first goal, scored by Robert Snodgrass, came almost exactly at the end of that tribute. The ball was willed into the goal by seemingly other worldly powers. The spirit of Gary Speed was certainly evident in the performance that day, as a rampant Whites team went on to score a further 3 goals. Those goals were provided by Howson, Becchio and Clayton.
And who can forget the Blue Santas at the Boxing day game December 2012? This time it was Leeds United's turn to concede 4 in a 4-2 reversal. However, the result didn’t dampen the spirits of the Blue Santas who never capitulated.
Head to Head
There has been a total of 43 games between the 2 former league champions at the City Ground. Forest have been victorious on 17 occasions, Leeds 8, and the honours even in 18 games. In those games there have been a total of 58 goals scored by Forest and 50 by United. The goals per game percentage breaks down as 1.39 for Forest and 1.16 per game for Leeds.
There isn’t much between the 2 sides' current league form. Forest's home form from 11 games is 5 wins, 3 draws, and 3 losses whilst Leeds away form from 11 is 4 wins, 5 draws, and 2 loses. Overall home and away, both teams are unbeaten in their last 4 outings.
With Leeds sitting 2 places above Forest and ahead by only 1 point, it's fair to say there’s not much to separate the sides going into the game.
The Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman is no stranger to Leeds United Supporters either; he was an influential player in Leeds’ push for promotion in the League One Season of 2007/08.
After a shaky start, he has steadied the boat at Forest recently and will prefer to play an unchanged side. One change forced on him will be for the injured defender Daniel Pillinos who is out with ACL injury. Defender Chris Cohen is also still out so Eric Lichaj and Michael Mancienne may cover those positions.
Leeds fans will be hoping for the return of Sol Bamba to the Centre of defence whilst a question mark still hangs over Sam Byram's participation. We expect news on that soon.
Potential Starters tomorrow:
Leeds United: Silvestri, Taylor, Bamba, Bellusci, Cooper, Wootton, Bridcutt, Byram, Adeyemi, Murphy, Cook, Mowatt, Dallas, Antenucci, Doukara and Wood. Those not used in the starting 11 will join Subs Botaka, Phillips and Peacock-Farrell. Coyle and Sloth are also hoping to make the squad.
Nottingham Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Mancienne, Mendes da Graça, Lansbury, Vaughan, Osborn, O'Grady, Oliveira, Trotter, Ward, Williams, Blackstock, Hobbs, Evtimov and Tesche
Referee: James Linington
Linesmen: Shaun Hudson and Joe Hull
Fourth Official: Sebastian Stockbridge
The City Ground, Nottingham
Sunday, December 27, 2015
8:30 PT / 11:30 ET / 16:30 BT
Leeds haven’t won a Christmas fixture for 6 years and the form leading up to this clash is evenly split: a draw wouldn’t be a bad bet.
In The Top One's Q&A with Through It All Together
Leeds will most likely play a 4-1-4-1 style formation. But is this Leeds’ best formation? Who would you like to see play up front alongside Wood or do you prefer that he plays as the lone forward? Would you prefer Bamba in Centre of defence to Bellusci? Leave your comments in the section below.