Nottingham Forest vs Leeds United Preview: Two inform teams set to face off at The City Ground

Nottingham Forest will be looking to continue their fine start to the season in The Championship as they take on Leeds United at The City Ground on Saturday evening. 

Forest bounced back from defeat at Barnsley by overcoming promotion favourites Middlesbrough last weekend with a 2-1 victory. Leeds will pose a very different challenge but Forest supporters will be hoping for a similar outcome.

As for Leeds, they claimed three points with a 2-0 win away at Sunderland last weekend after two consecutive goalless draws at Elland Road

How they've fared so far

The transformation at The City Ground since Evangelos Marinakis took over the club from former owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi has been nothing short of remarkable. The club is stable off the pitch for the first time in a significant amount of time and that is allowing Mark Warburton's side to focus on their performances on the pitch and it is currently paying off. 

Their performances so far this season have been very impressive with the Reds winning three out of their four Championship games as well as reaching the third round of the Carabao Cup. The likes of Barrie McKay, Daryl Murphy, Jason Cummings and Kieran Dowell have added a tremendous amount of attacking flair. 

One of the main issues for Forest this season has been their defence which has still been conceding far too many goals. This was the main reason the Reds found themselves in a relegation battle last season and is something that is being worked on in training. Warburton is still looking for one or two more signings and it would be no surprise if one of these was a defender. 

The recent addition of Liam Bridcutt who arrived from Leeds United for an undisclosed fee could go someway to sorting this issue. He will provide a vital protection in front of the back four which is even more important now that Chris Cohen is injured and David Vaughan is struggling with a slight knock. It will be interesting to see whether Warburton includes him in the starting line-up on Saturday which would see the midfielder face his former club on his debut.

Doukara scored a screamer the last time these two sides met. (picture: Getty Images / Gareth Copley)
Doukara scored a screamer the last time these two sides met. (picture: Getty Images / Gareth Copley)

As for Leeds, they look set to mount another challenge for promotion to the Premier League despite the fact they lost manager Garry Monk to Middlesbrough at the end of the season. Thomas Christiansen has done a good job with recruitment over the summer and has added quality to the squad. 

However, Leeds supporters had to come to terms with the news of star striker Chris Wood's departure to Premier League side Burnley earlier this week for a reported fee of £15 million which is a huge loss. He scored 27 goals for the Whites in The Championship last season and will be very difficult to replace. 

The likes of Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski look to be very smart additions by Christiansen this summer and they are capable of making up for the goals that have been lost by Wood's departure. Saiz in particular has made a very impressive start and will be looking to continue his goalscoring form at The City Ground on Saturday. 

Last time they met

Forest last played Leeds in The Championship in a 2-0 defeat at Elland Road in January. Second-half goals from Wood and Souleymane Doukara were enough to claim Monk's side all three points. It was yet another defeat on the road for Forest as relegation fears continued to increase.

However, Forest did have more success when the Whites last came to The City Ground. They secured a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Patjim Kasami, Damien Perquis and Oliver Burke. It turned out to be the teenager's last game for the Reds before he joined Red Bull Leipzig in a £15 million deal. 

Team news

Warburton revealed this week that Cohen's injury is worse than first thought and that he will be out for a few more weeks. Vaughan also picked up a knock against Middlesbrough last weekend and will face a late fitness test ahead of this one but may not be risked with the international break coming up.

The likes of Tendayi Darikwa, Matt Mills, Daryl Murphy and McKay were all left out for the 3-2 extra-time win over Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup in midweek but are likely to be recalled for this clash. 

As for Leeds, Kemar Roofe scored a hat-trick in Leeds' 5-1 win over Newport County in midweek and will be hoping that is enough to secure his place in Christiansen's starting line-up for this one. It will also be interesting to see whether Christiansen decides to start new signing Jay-Roy Grot