Ooh, it’s been a long break, hasn’t it? I certainly feel better for it, so hopefully that’s echoed in the Forest dressing room too as they prepare to return to action from the international break. Leeds away is a tricky proposition in anyone’s book, and even more so given our chronic lack of recent form – and their rather good home record of late. They’ve not lost at Elland Road since October.
We of course haven’t won in eight matches, and miraculously still find ourselves not only in the play-offs, but still with an admittedly slim shout of mounting a challenge for automatic promotion. I’ve all but given up on that, but hopefully the glasses around the City Ground are half full compared to my half empty ones scattering the place. Either way, with not all that much separating us from the pack chasing the play-offs, results are required regardless of our ultimate aim.
Leeds of course sit a place above us in the table, a point better off than us – to compound matters they also have a near enough full strength squad at their disposal – there’s some doubts around Jonathan Howson who has a hamstring injury, but they do have Jake Livermore – who once scored against us for the Sheep – a new arrival on loan from Tottenham. Billy Paynter is missing too through suspension.
We don’t seem to have made much meaningful progress on the injury front, at least not so that players are yet ready to feature. Moussi isn’t ready, Findley, Wilson and Blackstock remain on the longer term sick list, Earnie is also carrying a hamstring twinge but may be available, whilst Tudgay has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the Swansea game. Konchesky is injured, but Lynch has recovered – so he or Bennett may get the nod.
Earlier in the season we fought a spirited draw with them – the Reds had the early running and should’ve done more than just score one, but Leeds rallied late and goal-line clearance from Bertrand gave us a share of the points. In more recent times though certainly our respective forms have been less close, Leeds probably sit somewhere in midtable for form, whilst we’re firmly ensconced in the relegation zone.
I would dearly love to be all optimistic and predict the Reds to come back fully recharged and ready to start getting results, but it’s difficult to rationally do so – Simon Grayson has assembled a talented and hard-working squad who thrive in the atmosphere that a sell-out Elland Road will generate, and I’m not convinced our boys quite have enough in the tank to deal with it – without even mentioning the BBC cameras that will be there to document it.
Sad to say, but I’d take a draw…
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