Nottingham Forest are aiming to finish 2013 in style when promotion rivals Leeds United come to The City Ground on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).The Reds sealed a superb 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day and now know that a win over Brian McDermott’s side would firmly cement their place in the Sky Bet Championship’s top six.
Games between Forest and Leeds always prove to be entertaining encounters as the two sides have shared 28 goals in their last five meetings including The Reds’ famous 7-3 win at Elland Road in 2012.
Simon Cox faces a race against time to be fit for the game after missing the QPR win with a virus but Darius Henderson will certainly be out through suspension.
Chris Cohen, Kelvin Wilson and Danny Collins will all miss out through injury but otherwise manager Billy Davies should have a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Luke Murphy should return to the Leeds side after missing their 1-1 Boxing Day draw at Blackpool through suspension while Alex Mowatt may come back after being rested against The Seasiders.
Adam Drury, Noel Hunt and El-Hadji Diouf are all working their way back from injury but Sunday’s game is expected to come too soon for the trio.
Forest are currently unbeaten in five matches and have kept four consecutive clean sheets, a run which means they haven’t conceded in almost 400 minutes of football.
Their impressive form has taken them back to 5th in the Sky Bet Championship and another win against Leeds could close the gap on the automatic promotion places to just four points.
Reading (H) – Lost 3-2
Millwall (A) – Drew 2-2
Sheffield Wednesday (A) – Won 1-0
Ipswich (H) – Drew 0-0
Birmingham (A) – Drew 0-0
QPR (H) – Won 2-0
Leeds are in an almost identical run of form to The Reds having not lost any of their last five matches, with two wins and three draws in that sequence.
In fact, The Whites sit just one point and one place below Forest but manager Brian McDermott will have been frustrated that his side could not take maximum points in their last two matches against Barnsley and Blackpool.
Blackburn (A) – Lost 1-0
Wigan (H) – Won 2-0
Watford (H) – Drew 3-3
Doncaster (A) – Won 3-0
Barnsley (H) – Drew 0-0
Blackpool (A) – Drew 1-1
Down The Years
Forest wins over Leeds: 28 (23 League, 2 League Cup, 3 FA Cup)
Leeds wins over Forest: 29 (28 League, 1 FA Cup)
Draws: 29 (29 League)
The last meeting between the two sides came on Boxing Day 2012 as Forest ran out comfortable 4-2 winners over Leeds at The City Ground.
Paul Green gave The Whites an early lead before a brace from Billy Sharp, an own goal from Rodolph Austin and a strike from Dexter Blackstock gave The Reds a 4-1 lead.
A late consolation from Davide Somma put some respectability on the scoreline for Leeds but it wasn’t enough to prevent Sean O’Driscoll from being sacked as Forest manager after the game.
He Played For Both
Frank Gray enjoyed two spells with Leeds United from 1972-1979 and 1981-1985 making nearly 400 appearances for the Elland Road club during his time there. The younger brother of Eddie, he helped Leeds to win the league title in 1974 before leaving for Forest five years later.
Signed by Brian Clough for £500,000 in 1979, Gray spent two years on Trentside and made 81 appearances. He was part of the Forest side which beat Hamburg to win the 1980 European Cup final before returning to Leeds a year later.
Referee: James Linington
Assistant Referees: Mark Astley and Steven Plane
Fourth Official: Graham Horwood
Forest are the favourites to take the win on Sunday and can be backed at even while the draw is priced at a generous 12/5.
The Reds saw off QPR 2-0 on Boxing Day and there are odds of 8/1 on them repeating the feat against Leeds while 16/1 is being offered on a 3-0 success.
After keeping four clean sheets in a row, Forest are proving very stubborn to beat at the back and supporters can get odds of 9/4 on them making it five shutouts on the bounce.
Check out all of the latest odds on Sky Bet.
(All odds correct at time of publishing)
The official matchday magazine is available to buy and download for Sunday’s meeting with Leeds.
In this edition, priced £3, owner and chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi talks about the busy festive fixture list, young midfielder Ben Osborn introduces himself to Reds supporters and the Forest players go to meet some very special young fans.
Forest fans are reminded that they can download the official matchday magazine to their iPad. Perfect for supporters who are unable to attend the game, the download can be accessed via this app from 2pm onwards on Sunday.
Hard copies will be available from all the usual outlets around The City Ground.
Follow The Game
Live audio commentary will be available on Forest Player, as well as free live text commentary on www.nottinghamforest.co.uk
Forest Player will also have extended match highlights from 12pm on Monday, as well as all the reaction from the Forest camp.
Tickets for the match (Sunday 29 December, kick-off 3pm) are on general sale and can be bought online at www.nffcretail.com, in store at the Ticket Office or by calling 0871 226 1980 (calls cost 10p per minute, mobile rates may vary).
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