December 26, 2012
Ayala blow for Forest
Team Stat Comparison
|Nottingham Forest||Leeds United|
|Goals for *||1.6||1.2|
|Goals against *||1.2||1.7|
|Last 5 home||L-D-D-D-W||L-W-W-L-L|
|Last 5 away||W-L-L-D-W||W-L-L-L-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Nottingham Forest | Leeds United|
Defender Daniel Ayala is suspended for Nottingham Forest as Leeds make the trip to the City Ground.
The Norwich loanee received two yellow cards in the space of 15 first-half minutes in the 2-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday, meaning the Spaniard will miss the Boxing Day clash.
Greg Halford, who came off the bench at half-time at Vicarage Road, is favourite to deputise in the centre of defence.
Fellow defender Elliott Ward and on-loan Chelsea defender Sam Hutchinson, back in training following a knee injury, will both be hoping for a place among the substitutes.
Sean O'Driscoll's men have lost three of their last five games, and the Forest boss could make a number of changes as they seek to keep pace with the play-off chasers.
Midfielders Simon Gillett, Lewis McGugan, Henri Lansbury and Radoslaw Majewski are all waiting in the wings, while Jermaine Jenas is close to a return to action following a calf problem.
Neil Warnock will assess the "tired legs'' in his squad before choosing his starting XI for the trip.
Warnock hailed his team for their unstinting efforts in coming from behind to beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on Saturday, thanks to a brace from in-form striker Luciano Becchio.
"We put our bodies on the line near the end and there were a lot of tired legs out there,'' said Warnock.
One player who will be missing at the City Ground will be on-loan midfielder Michael Tonge. He played the full game against Boro in his final appearance before his return to parent club Stoke, although Leeds are hoping to make the deal permanent during the January transfer window.
Veteran Michael Brown, an unused substitute on Saturday, could be called upon to take Tonge's place in central midfield, while winger Aidy White is pressing for a start after coming on as a substitute at the start of the second half against Boro.
South African striker Davide Somma is also in contention after coming off the bench on Saturday for his first appearance since May 2011.
Fellow forward Becchio will continue to lead the line, with his two goals at the weekend taking his season's tally to 17 - just three short of his best-ever return for the club.
Midfielder Rudy Austin and defender Leigh Bromby remain long-term absentees.