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:


Connolly Albrechtsen Leacock Stewart

Teale Addison Green Commons

Hulse Ellington


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!

5 Responses

  1. Not a bad report from a sheep like person.They are on a much better run of form and at home so i expect them to come at us.On paper i dont think they have a better side commons has ran the show for them on big games this season.Even though we will be throwing KFC cartons at him he is the man we have to dubble up on no question.

    Im gonna throw this open to all what formation would you play against them ?considering our current form and players coming back in.

    Heres mine ,

    It will be blood and guts for half anhour or so ,so i would start 4-5-1 we need to stay tight and show were up for it.2 wingers to hit on the break earnie hovering like a praying mantice.Perch has to play right back with cover in front to snuff out commons but i suspect jewell will let him wander.

    If all is well 10 into second half we go 4-4-2 earnie & garner with anderson and mcleary on the flanks and frigging go for it.We have matched sides like reading and sunderland derby are no great shakes WE HAVE TO SHOW BOTTLE IF WE GO BEHIND.

    Perch Morgan Breckin Lynch

    Anderson Mcgugan Cohen Mcleary


    Second half

    Perch Morgan Breckin Lynch

    Anderson Mcgugan Cohen Mcleary

    Earnie Garner

    Lets get behind them lads and come awat with a memeorable victory and bring the cloughie trothy home where it belongs.

    U reds

  2. Interesting; I would avoid 4-5-1 simply because whenever we play it it seems to lack balance – although if the wingers were drilled to hold their position it could be okay. Personally I’d prefer 4-4-2 right from the off.

    The only tricky is whether Anderson is fit, and how to accommodate Fletcher, Cohen and McGugan in midfield (I too would put Perch at rightback).

    I would want to leave Fletcher out as we need someone in a game like this to be an enforcer in midfield, and that’s not really Cohen or McGugan’s bag.

    Basically, I’m glad I’m not the manager!

  3. Im glad you arent the manager too NFFC!

    We have enough problems already!! 🙂

  4. Andy Cole – why did he come to the club?

  5. What the heck was all that in the last couple of mins????? We could have lost it we could have won it but in the end we shared the points but didn’t win the trophy. Damn

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