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Steve Cooper has called on his Nottingham Forest side to answer criticism of their form on the road when they head to Leeds on Tuesday night.

Forest have taken 21 points in front of their own fans at the City Ground but added just six more from a possible 39 on their travels – a major factor in their ongoing involvement in the relegation scrap.

Their only win came at Southampton on January 4, while a record of just four away goals tells its own story.

Cooper is not shying away from those revealing numbers but refuses to give up on changing the story, and sees their clash with fellow strugglers Leeds as the perfect opportunity.

“There will be a lot of negative things said about our away form and we have to accept those comments,” the head coach said at Monday’s press conference.

“We can’t ignore the away form. We can’t hide away from that. We need to take responsibility to put it right and that only starts with the next game.

“We have to own it and try and do something about it. We’re still of that mindset, we can still do something about it and that’s our intention. It will be a great game under the lights at Elland Road and it’s a great occasion to go and try and win a match.”

The reverse fixture saw Forest win 1-0 courtesy of Brennan Johnson’s first-half effort – a result that immediately led to the sacking of Jesse Marsch as Leeds boss.

Javi Gracia has since taken on the task of keeping the Yorkshire club in the top flight and his presence in the dugout means Cooper is not taking too much from the February 5 win.

“They’ve changed manager since our last game, but it’s still the same squad more or less,” he said.

“The context is different around the game so we can’t really compare the two games. We understand the timing of the season, the league positions and the context around the importance of the game, but we’ve got to relish the challenge and believe in ourselves.”

Forest will assess the fitness of Serge Aurier, Gustavo Scarpa and Andre Ayew ahead of the game, with all three working back from injuries sustained on international duty.

Ryan Yates remains out with a shoulder injury, but Taiwo Awoniyi and Cheikhou Kouyate both made brief returns off the bench against Wolves at the weekend and could be ready for more.