ADAM Forshaw says Leeds United are focused on producing a “high energy” display at Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day and can bounce back with another winning reaction to a rare defeat.
Championship front-runners Leeds slipped to only their fourth Championship loss of the season in their final game of 2018 on Saturday as two goals from Jarrod Bowen gave in-form Hull City a 2-0 victory.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men now visit a side badly out of form in 10th-placed Forest who have gone five games without a victory – losing three of them – with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Millwall heaping the pressure on boss Aitor Karanka.
Forshaw was part of Karanka’s Middlesbrough side that earned automatic promotion to the Premier League in 2015 and the Whites midfielder expects a stern test from United’s hosts but says his men will be prepared for an industrious display at the City Ground as they take in their fourth game in ten days.
Forest – who were among the pre-season title favourites – took a 1-1 draw from their league clash at Elland Road at the end of October in which Kemar Roofe handed United an equaliser eight minutes from time, cancelling out Jack Robinson’s 11th-minute opener.
The contest also saw Whites right-back Luke Ayling become injured against Forest for the second game in a row.
“It was a tough game here when we drew 1-1,” said Forshaw,
“We did enough to win the game, but they made it hard for us.
“They have a lot of experienced players who know the league and have got a good manager in Karanka.
“It is always a tough place to go, but we will be focusing on ourselves – recovering as well as possible now to go and play a high-energy game.”
Whites head coach Bielsa has stated his belief that the clash at Forest will be United’s most demanding game of the Christmas period with Leeds remaining without the services of injured quintet Patrick Bamford, Stuart Dallas, Izzy Brown, Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi.
United were seeking an eighth-straight win against Hull at the weekend but fell to their first defeat since being walloped 4-0 at promotion rivals West Brom on November 10.
That setback was followed by seven-straight wins.
Asked if Leeds could show the same reaction to the Baggies loss, Forshaw said: “We have got to.
“We put a great run together since that West Brom game.
“If we can do that now and put another run together we won’t be far away.”
Leeds remain three points clear at the top of the Championship despite Saturday’s setback following second-placed Norwich City’s 4-3 loss at home to Derby County.
West Brom – who sit third – closed the gap on United to five points with a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
The Baggies visit 15th-placed Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Day with the Canaries at 18th-placed Brentford.