Nottingham Forest v Leeds United: YEP jury predictions

Luke Murphy.
Luke Murphy.
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The YEP jury make their predictions ahead of Leeds United’s clash with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

GARY NEWBOULD

United are on the road once again this festive period when they head to the East Midlands to take on Nottingham Forest.

Courtesy of an impressive 2-0 victory at the City Ground over QPR on Boxing Day the hosts start the game one point and once place better off than the Whites.

After drawing only two of their opening 18 league fixtures United have now drawn three of their last four encounters and whilst the home draw with Barnsley was disappointing the Boxing Day draw at Blackpool was a point gained.

Indeed it could have been all three had referee Scott Mathieson applied the rules properly and dismissed the home captain after an hour for a professional foul rather than with just three minutes to go for a shocking challenge on Marius Zaliukas.

But in such a competitive and closely fought league mathematically you are much better off winning and losing over two games rather than sharing both spoils.

Forest’s recent resurgence has coincided with the return of Billy ‘job done’ Davies and if previous encounters involving Davies and United are anything to go by then we can look forward to a feisty encounter both on the pitch and in the dug-outs.

The absence of the suspended Luke Murphy at Bloomfield Road highlighted the lack of creativity in the heart of United’s midfield, and further confirmed the need for some wide creativity purchases during the forthcoming transfer window.

However, both Michael Tongue and Michael Brown can be relied upon to shore up the midfield for difficult away fixtures and I would not be surprised if Brian McDermott keeps the same starting line up despite the obvious temptation to the shuffle the pack during the busy festive period.

United will come up against former loanee defender Eric Lichaj and former defender Dan Harding tomorrow so they need to be wary of the ‘former player syndrome’.

Christmas has been far from profitable for the Whites in recent years, and the City Ground in particular has not been one of their most happy hunting grounds.

But if they are to remain on track for at least a tilt at the Championship play-offs then Leeds United need to keep the scoreboard ticking over with at least a point against a team that I remain convinced will be one of their main challengers.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2 Leeds United 2.

KEITH INGHAM

After Leeds were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackpool they move on to a top-six clash with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Missing from the Blackpool game were Luke Murphy through suspension and Alex Mowatt, who was rested and who could be absent at the weekend as the manager protects the youngster from playing too many games. The two Michael’s – Brown and Tonge – did a steady job and may keep their places but I expect Murphy to return.

The inclusion of Gboly Ariyibi on the bench at Blackpool was a surprise and the manager stated that the youngster may get his opportunity ‘when I feel it is right’. He clearly feels that Ariyibi is a player capable of becoming a ‘game changer’.

Marius Zaliukas put in a MOTM performance on Thursday and the entire back line looked comfortable until Ince’s shot deflected off the unfortunate Lithuanian.

I expect another tight encounter and an odd goal could win it.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 Leeds United 2.

JONATHAN FORD

A point away in our last game – which should have been three – will hopefully give us confidence going into the game. Forest are a good team, I’d take a point but I always think we will get all three! A McCormack-inspired display and a 2-1 win for me.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 Leeds United 2.

ELLIOT BRANSBY

After two successive draws against Barnsley and Blackpool we travel to Nottingham Forest for the final game of the year.

It should be a cracking game as both teams are fifth and sixth respectively but it’s important we really go out and play for the win and not sit too deep which leads to conceding goals. For Leeds to still be in the play-off places come the Blackburn game we need to win and this won’t be easy against a tough side who haven’t conceded in four games. I expect McDermott to freshen the team up for the trip to the City Ground and maybe bring Mowatt and Murphy back into the side or maybe someone like Poleon to bring us some pace up front. If we can finish in the top six by the end of 2013 I’d be delighted!

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 0 Leeds United 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

Hopefully Luke Murphy and Alex Mowatt will be restored for the trip to Forest as Billy Davies’ side looks a much tougher proposition than Blackpool. Trips to the City Ground have been quite fruitful in recent years but a point this time will be very acceptable.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 Leeds United 1.

MICHAEL HEMSWORTH

After failing to take three points on Boxing Day, next up is our old friend Billy Davies.

Fortunately Luke Murphy is back from suspension and is likely to come straight back into the side. Having seemingly reverted to launching high balls towards Matt Smith at Blackpool, that should see us play more of a passing game again.

I’d like to see Luke Varney start ahead of Smith as it reduces the temptation to go route one. I’d also like to see Scott Wootton replace Tom Lees. Most importantly, Sam Byram has to come back into the side. We simply cannot afford to waste a player of his quality on the bench.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2 Leeds United 2.

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