Kenny Burns has warned the Nottingham Forest players that if they do not perform against Leeds United at the City Ground this afternoon they could miss out on treading the Stamford Bridge turf in an FA Cup glamour tie at Chelsea at the weekend.

The Tricky Trees suffered a disappointing run of results during December and are now without a win in their last five games in the Championship.

However, Aitor Karanka’s men have the perfect opportunity to begin the new year on a high when league leaders Leeds visit the City Ground later today.

Despite narrowly missing out on a win during the controversial reverse fixture in October, Nottingham Forest will be aiming to make the best use of home advantage this afternoon.

But, the Tricky Trees also have a potential distraction in the form of a third round FA Cup clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to look forward to at the moment.

But Burns has told the Forest stars they will need to perform against Leeds if they are to be in the team for the meeting with Chelsea.

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However, the Nottingham Forest legend also insisted the players cannot afford to keep one eye on the meeting with Chelsea when they host Leeds at the City Ground.

“They can’t be thinking about the Chelsea game on Saturday”, Burns wrote in his column for the Nottingham Post.

“I’m sure everyone will want to play in that FA Cup tie, but they’ve got to know that if they don’t perform against Leeds, they’re going to be out the team.”

Nottingham Forest have slipped to 10th place in the Championship table and suffered a 1-0 loss to relegation battlers Millwall during their last game on Saturday.

The pressure has been piled on boss Karanka.