Nottingham Forest host Leeds at the City Ground on Sunday afternoon as both sides will be aiming to distance themselves from the ensuing relegation scrap.
Nottingham’s turnaround under Steve Cooper this season has been remarkable. The Reds struggled in the early months of the campaign, winning just one of their first 11 league games. But since then, they have lost just two of their last nine and currently sit in 13th place in the table.
Forest were not in action last weekend as they had already been knocked out of the FA Cup at the hands of Blackpool. However, they were in midweek action in the EFL Cup semi-final second leg as they travelled to Old Trafford looking to overturn a 3-0 deficit.
The Reds were unable to pull off a miracle as they were eventually beaten 2-0 on the night, with Fred and Martial scoring late on for united. As they are now out of all domestic cups, Forest will be able to have sole concentration on the task at hand, being Premier League survival.
Steve Cooper looked to strengthen his squad during the transfer window as injuries to key players had left gaps in his squad. The trio of Felipe, Jonjo Shelvey and Keylor Navas, who were all completed in deadline day deals, will undoubtedly bring much needed experience into the Forest dressing room.
Leeds currently find themselves three points behind Forest in the table, however they do have a game in hand. The Peacocks have recorded 18 points from their 19 league games so far this campaign.
Jesse Marsch’s side have not recorded a league win since the 5th of November, a run that has seen them record three defeats and three draws. Frustratingly, Leeds have drawn three of their last four outings as they have been unable to vital winners.
Last weekend, Leeds progressed into the 5th round of the FA Cup thanks to a comfortable victory over Accrington Stanley. Despite a valiant effort from the League One outfit, the Peacocks eventually eased to a 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Jack Harrison, Junior Firpo and Luis Sinistera.
Leeds are set to face Sunderland or Fulham in the fifth round, a tie in which they will be confident they can progress through. A cup run may be what Jesse Marsch needs to keep the Leeds fanbase behind him during a difficult spell in the league.
In the January transfer window, Leeds added to their squad with four new signings that they hope will bolster the club’s chances of Premier League survival. They also managed to fight off Leicester City’s interest in the signature of Jack Harrison in an extraordinary turn of events on deadline day.
This is the first meeting of these two sides in the Premier league since the 1998/99 campaign, a season in which Forest finished rock bottom of the league. However, these sides have met on many occasions in the Championship and Leeds have struggled in this fixture in recent meetings.
Leeds have failed to beat Nottingham in any of the last five times of asking. The last time that these sides met came in the 2019/20 Championship campaign, in which Nottingham eased to a 2-0 victory.
These sides are very closely matched at the bookies ahead of this clash, as Nottingham are narrowly favoured @ 8/5, whilst an away win for Leeds is currently priced @ 17/10. We are backing a draw Brennan Johnson to score because of his impressive form as of late. He has been involved in four goals in his last three Premier League appearances, double the amount that he had in his first 17 appearances.