Forest drag heels and pay the price, Leeds fail to work on consistent fault

Another weekend in the Championship proved to be a season-changer for Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, whilst Derby County show grit in promotion push.

Nottingham Forest paid the price for dragging their heels in the loan market at the weekend, effectively turning up to the biggest game of the season with many of their fringe players in the starting eleven.

The Reds played Burnley in a real automatic promotion crunch match which could have seen Forest climb above Queens Park Rangers and just three points away from what would have been second placed Derby. However, despite claims that the club would use the loan market to improve their squad and to cover the long list of injuries, they have yet to make a single signing.

Forest were hampered with more injury worries going into the crunch match with Burnley, as key man Andy Reid missed the game through a calf problem.

It could be argued that Forest are hard pushed to moan about squad issues due to their already significant investment, however, with the large number of injuries it clearly needs addressing.

Although it's not impossible for Forest to make up the 8-point gap on second placed Burnley, with just 14 games left it does look unlikely. Despite that, I firmly believe Forest need a couple of bodies through the door to guarantee themselves a place in the play-offs.

Seventh-placed Wigan are up next for City Ground outfit and if they lose that match, they could be nervously looking over their shoulder as Wigan would also have a game in hand and the chance to leapfrog them in the league.


Leeds United have consistently shown the same fault in their play this season which has been, in my opinion, the reason why they are effectively out of the race for promotion.

The Yorkshire club have failed to record a passing success rate of over 70% in five of their last six games, and in the game they managed it - they won 5-1. Which is why I feel their lack of emphasis on keeping the ball has largely resulted in their underwhelming season. It's not the only fault shown by the club, but for me, it is the main issue.

Safe-sideways passing isn't the answer, but questions need to be asked when you complete just 229 passes in a match like they did against Middlesbrough.

When you compare that to the top teams in the division, it proves to be more than a 100 less than both Derby County and Leicester City. Which should be the example Leeds are looking to follow.


And finally, leaky Derby County have finally found their resolute side after winning three consecutive games 1-0.

The Rams have conceded more goals than any other top-half side in the division which could be put largely down to their attacking style that saw them score 57 goals, which was their tally before the last three games.

It seems however Birmingham City could have changed Steve McClaren's approach going into the 'business end' of the season after Derby threw a 3-1 lead away at St. Andrews leaving with just a point.

Since then they've tightened up in midfield, showing a more aggressive style and their last three goals have brought in nine points, whereas the three goals before that saw them win just one.

Derby County travel to the fortress of Turf Moor at the weekend in what could be billed as the biggest game of the season for both sides. A Burnley win would put them five points clear of the Rams, however, a Derby win would leapfrog them above Burnley in the league and place them in the automatic promotion spots.

image: © joncandy

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch