Was it worth it, Kris?

The bank of Commons is open, but not for shopping in Nottingham, it seems.

The bank of Commons is open, but not for shopping in Nottingham, it seems.

Read this piece on the website for The Mirror; and see what you think – I’m long past foaming-at-the-mouth angry at Commons leaving; frankly, he was inconsistent – perhaps he needed a change of scene.  I’m finding his media conduct in the run-up to this game quite fascinating though; I wonder whether the price he got for his soul will represent value in the long run for him?

Kris Commons is a silly boy. I’m not churlish enough not to deny I wasn’t disappointed when he decided not to stick around. I’m able to admit that when Derby was confirmed as his destination I was furious. Not that I ever really buy into this ‘playing for his boyhood club’ nonsense, when a football club transcends ‘your club’ to ‘your employer’, I imagine a number of things change.

It’s the re-justifying it that amuses me; you see, he’d pretty much agreed a deal in January with the Sheep – so any conversations the Reds had with him after this were a foregone conclusion anyway.  The suggestion that his move ‘wrecked’ our promotion part is rather strong, it did leave a sour taste though  Amusingly he apparently feels that he shouldn’t be seen walking around Nottingham spending all his money – well no shit, Sherlock!

And so as a self-confessed supposed Forest fan, he’s sold his soul for a better contract – and now has the temerity to lie about it.  Whilst as a collective football fans aren’t the brightest lot at times, our fans aren’t foolish enough to swallow his fabrications – although I’m not sure Derby fans will be pleased to hear his heart wasn’t really in his move down Brian Clough Way.  As I said, silly boy.  He should have kept his mouth shut.

Of course, there could be another reason for his not shopping in Nottingham, the relatively recently upgraded Eagle Centre in the badlands has a Pieminister in it – so he has all his shopping and culinary needs in his new adoptive home.  

Speaking of Pie, and of preparations for the big game tomorrow, if you take a wander over to Stress and Pie they have uploaded a new video – playing on the fact that our numerous lesser Midlands rivals seem to think the term ‘Red Dog‘ is in some way offensive.  Certainly our fans are hungry to the point of starvation for a chance to put one over on our bitterest of rivals; let’s hope the players are up to delivering.  

Every dog has his day, let’s hope tomorrow proves to be that day for the Red Dogs.

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When two tribes go to war.. the Derby County perspective..

The nffcblog Derby correspondent takes precautions when heading into Nottingham...

The nffcblog Derby correspondent takes precautions when heading into Nottingham...

I mentioned yesterday I tend to encounter two types of Derby fan, the like-minded person led astray by a poor life choice, and the rampant shoulder-chip bearing tubthumper incapable of reasoned debate or banter.  Luckily I’m privileged to know a number who fall in the former group, and at my request one of them has kindly penned a preview for the match, as well as some other general observations which I think makes pretty interesting reading in the build up to our first competitive trip to Pride Park in some time!

Since our time apart from our dearest neighbours has been significant, I don’t know about you, but I know absolutely nothing about their team aside from a certain winger from North Notts apparently waddles around for them and spouts off ill-advised things in the media – so hopefully an insider perspective might give us a few clues as to what we can expect from Paul ‘Porn Star’ Jewell’s rams.

It’s finally here.

You know you are excited about an event when it begins to permeate your thoughts whilst you are sleeping. I’ve no doubt that this has been the case for others over the past couple of weeks too.

And why does the above happen?

Because this is not and never will be just another game. This is our game.
It seems a lifetime ago since we last met and so much has happened, but through it all (from a Wembley win to a soul destroying, gutless relegation), we could always look down with some sense of satisfaction that the Tricky Trees were languishing in the third tier of English football. Conversely, I’m sure last season was a hoot for Reds fans.

The fact it has been so long is one of the key aspects as to why this rivalry is so intense. Unlike games between Arsenal and Tottenham or Liverpool and Everton, it is not a given that we will play each other every season. The phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” isn’t the best in this context, but it helps to illustrate the point that the extended periods of time between competitive games leads to the rivalry and bitterness being multiplied to monumental (unhealthy?) proportions.

The local media don’t help in this respect. I was still working in Nottingham before our last meeting at Pride Park and I remember Jack Lester “exclaiming” in the Evening Post that “Derby are no world beaters” days before his side were totally outclassed. Not only does it give the opposition a further incentive to do well, should it backfire as it did in this case, it makes the player look very foolish. Perhaps this is more to do with the (poor) quality of the paper.

There are so many intriguing facets to this game, but the one that dominates all is Kris Commons. Much has already been said about his move down the A52, but regardless of what Garry Birtles would lead the Sky viewing public to believe, the Derby support have taken to him. If anything, the almost infantile prattling of some fans only endears him further. Would there have been a similar sense of outrage had it been Wes Morgan or Julian Bennett who crossed the divide?

Lee Camp will be in goal for Forest and is as big a Derby fan as you are likely to come across, yet there has not been nearly as much hysteria around his “betrayal”. Many of the Forest fans I spoke to upon Commons’ signing described him predominantly as lazy and inconsistent. If this were the case, surely they would be rejoicing that in the biggest game of our clubs’ seasons, their rivals would effectively be playing with 10 men?

Based on form, Derby fans are feeling optimistic. The early season soft centre (1 point from 4 games) has been replaced by a steely determination and never say die attitude (1 defeat in 10). Tuesday’s win over Norwich was by far the most accomplished performance since the promotion year and had the Rams scored double the 3 they got, the visitors could have had no complaints (even accounting for the 10 minute spell after their goal).

There have been glimpses throughout the season that the attacking half of the side could cause problems for anybody, but this past midweek was the first time it came together for a sustained period. Such a showing has come at the right time.

Team news

Our recent form was built upon a settled side, although in recent games there was been regular changes due to an increasing injury list and suspensions. However, apart from long term absentees Stephen Pearson, Steven Davis and Giles Barnes (although now back in first team training), there is pretty much a full strength squad to pick from. Both Nacer Barazite and Dean Leacock trained on Thursday and are likely to be involved.

Barazite will probably be on the bench, although the call with Leacock is more difficult. A duo of Leacock and Albrechtsen is Derby’s best pairing, however, Paul Jewell has shown (in the case of Steven Bywater) that if you come into the team and do well, then you will keep your place. Having said that, I would expect Leacock to play in the following team:

Bywater

Connolly Albrechtsen Leacock Stewart

Teale Addison Green Commons

Hulse Ellington

Subs:
Carroll
Nyatanga
Villa
Kazmierczak
Barazite

Key man
Rob Hulse: 4 goals in his last 5 games shows he is getting back to his best after a horrific injury and his partnership with Nathan Ellington is beginning to blossom. His hold up play allows Ellington, Kris Commons and Paul Green to play around him.

So a big thanks to my non-hostile Derby supporting pal for his very comprehensive preview; of course, at some point today the battle lines will be drawn and all communications will probably break down until one of us has the bragging rights; but I’d like to think either of us will be gracious in victory or defeat.  If nothing else, I’ve learned that Derby have a player called Parasite!  They want to be careful, we’ve had a few of those in our time, and it took a while to get rid of ’em too!