Premier League

Leeds United-Nottingham Forest Preview

Steve Cooper says his Nottingham Forest side are fully motivated to drag the club out of the relegation zone after adding three more players to his squad this week.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas, defender Felipe and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey all arrived on transfer deadline day, while Andre Ayew signed as a free agent on Wednesday.

Forest have now made a remarkable 30 signings since earning promotion to the Premier League last May.

The addition of more players means others will now miss out on playing time, but Forest manager Cooper does not believe it will have a negative impact on team morale.

"We are all motivated to do well but are really enjoying working with each other," he said. "The atmosphere is one that is really good to be part of.

"I'm not sure how many minutes (the new signings) will play this weekend, if any at all. Certainly some will be ready."

Forest could do with their new players hitting the ground running on the back of a 5-0 aggregate loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-finals.

The Reds are unbeaten in four league matches, however, and are three points better off than Sunday's opponents Leeds United, who are winless in six top-flight outings.

Leeds themselves strengthened in the transfer window, with Weston McKennie joining on an initial loan from Juventus, and the United States midfielder is set to make his debut at the City Ground.

"He's fit, he's ready, so yes of course he is in consideration to start on Sunday and certainly to be in the squad," said Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch.

"He's a competitor and he believes in himself. He's aggressive, he's confident, and he has quality. At Schalke they played a little bit similar to the things that I like to do.

"So even now sitting and talking with him about what we think his role will be, he's pretty clear on how to integrate himself."

Forest - Brennan Johnson

Johnson has slowly adapted to the Premier League, the Wales international having been involved in four goals in his past three matches (two goals and two assists). That is double the amount he managed in his first 17 games in the competition while finding his feet, with those foul goal involvements worth five points to Forest.

Leeds - Brenden Aaronson

McKennie is the third American player in the Leeds squad, along with Tyler Adams and Aaronson, the latter of whom is key to the way Marsch wants his side to play. Aaronson has applied more pressures (654) than any other player in the Premier League this season for Leeds, who lead the way for pressed sequences as a whole (310).

- Forest have won their past two home league games against Leeds, last winning three in a row against them at the City Ground in May 1991.

- Leeds have won just two of their past 15 league games against Forest (D6 L7), with those wins coming consecutively in January and August 2017.

- United are winless in their past 12 top-flight away games against Forest (D7 L5), with this their first such visit since a 1-1 draw in October 1998. Indeed, Leeds have never won away at Forest in the top flight without Don Revie either in the starting line-up (1959) or as manager (five wins between 1966 and 1971).

- Since their return to the Premier League in 2020, Leeds have won all five of their away games against promoted sides by an aggregate score of 14-3. These victories account for 31 per cent of all their away league wins over the last three seasons (5/16).

- Forest are unbeaten in their past four Premier League games (W2 D2), last having a longer run without defeat in the top flight between February and November 1995 (25 games). They are unbeaten in their past six at home, alternating between a draw and a victory each time.

Updated February 3, 2023

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