Leeds and Nottingham Forest: Two clubs moving in opposite directions?

Leeds and Nottingham Forest appear to be on different trajectories to last season.

Leeds and Nottingham Forest are two clubs with a rich history in English football.

If judged on the size of fan base alone, they would be Premier League clubs, but have each struggled for more than a decade to reclaim spots in the top flight.

A year ago it seemed only one of the two had a viable chance.

Last September it was Nottingham Forest led by Stuart Pearce who hit the ground running. They topped the Championship table after a month, inspired by spending big on Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio.

Leeds United on the other hand took just three league games to fire their manager Dave Hockaday, and while they had recruited a high number of players, had also sold the previous season's top scorer Ross McCormack.

Forest appeared the more settled club, while Leeds continued into disarray, hiring and firing another manager Darko Milanic, and going through the whole of December without a win.

Now into the first week of the 2015/16 season, and a lot has changed.

Forest appear on a downwards spiral at present, losing their first two games of the season and struggling in the transfer market.

Both clubs were hit with a transfer embargo by the Football League earlier this year, and while Leeds had theirs lifted, Forest have been hampered by it throughout this summer.

It has limited their own ambition, and left them clinging onto players like Henri Lansbury and Michail Antonio.

Leeds have bought well this summer, splashing out on striker Chris Wood, and signing Stuart Dallas, Sol Bamba and Lee Erwin among others.

Touting them for promotion may be too early, especially given the strength of other sides in the division but a top 10 finish is a realistic objective for a side which landed up in just 15th last year.

At the centre of both clubs are two maverick owners, Massimo Cellino and Fawaz Al-Hasawi, who both are unafraid to hire and fire, and do things their way.

Cellino has however this summer been keeping a low profile, appointing Adam Pearson as chief executive, and the club appear to be flourishing off the pitch as a result of this appointment.

Al-Hasawi appears to lurch from one PR disaster to another, whether arguing with Derby fans via Twitter, or posing with a photo of a dead ram on Instagram, as reported by The Mirror.

A lot can change in football over the course of just a few months, as has been shown with the directions of the two clubs recently. Leeds owner Cellino has a penchant for the unpredictable and could blow things up at any point.

Yet right now it is Leeds rather than Forest who are on an upwards curve and seem more likely to win promotion this coming season, with the latter facing a long season ahead if there is not an improvement.

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