Nottingham Forest v Leeds United: The lowdown on Forest with Aitor Karanka's future in doubt

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Leeds United travel to Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day to kick start 2019 - but what do you need to know about the Tricky Trees?

Why is Aitor Karanka under pressure?

Leeds United travel to face Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day.

Leeds United travel to face Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day.

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka has had to deal with speculation over his future at the club over the last few weeks.

The Spaniard is expected to take charge of the New Year's Day showdown with Leeds United at the City Ground despite having admitted he is yet to speak to the club's hierarchy.

Forest's ownership are said to be unhappy with his sides inability to break into the top six at this stage of the season with the Reds sat 10th in the table six points from the play-off places.

Karanka's side spent upwards of £20m last summer on player recruitment but the 45-year-old believes he needs "four or five" additions in the coming window to compete for promotion.

“I am excited. Because it is New Year’s Day and we are playing the team at the top of the table,” Karanka said ahead of the game.

“We were almost better than them at Elland Road, a few months ago.

“So playing at home against them, at this time of year, in front of a big crowd – this is the kind of reason why I love to be involved in football.

“They lost to Hull, which I don’t know if is good or bad – but we will think about ourselves.

What is Nottingham Forest's recent form?

Form: WLDLDL

Forest's recent form has dipped following the speculation over Aitor Karanka's future at the club with the Spaniard believing the talk of his dismissal affected his players at Millwall last time out in a 1-0 defeat.

On Boxing Day the Reds threw away a 3-0 lead at Norwich City as the Canaries scored twice in injury time to earn a 3-3 draw at Carrow Road.

Karanka's last victory came on December 1 against Ipswich Town in a 1-0 victory on home soil and will look to put a miserable festive period behind them having picked up just two points from five games.

What formation do Nottingham Forest play?

Preferred formation: 4-2-3-1

Aitor Karanka has deployed the 4-2-3-1 formation in every Championship outing so far this campaign. Forest have won 8, drawn 12 and lost 5 playing this way.

Lewis Grabban is expected to lead the line on his own meaning the Whites should opt for a 4-1-4-1 at the City Ground. Grabban has bagged four goals in his last five league games against United.

Here are Nottingham Forest's key stats this season...

Games played: 25

Goals scored: 35

Goals conceded: 27

Yellow cards: 62

Red cards: 2

Shots per game (avg): 11.6

Possession (avg): 52.1%

Top goalscorer: Lewis Grabban (14)

Top assists: Joe Lolley (7)

Home form - P12 W5 D4 L3

Things to look out for...

Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban has scored four goals in his last five league starts against Leeds United

Leeds, 2-0 winners at the City Ground last season, have not won back-to-back league visits to Nottingham Forest since August 1969

Nottingham Forest's Aitor Karanka has only won one of his seven league games as a manager against Leeds United (D3 L3)

Nottingham Forest are winless in their past four Championship matches against Leeds (D2 L2)

This is Leeds' first away league match on New Year's Day for 22 years