Forest vs. Derby County preview..

As if either set of fans needed more excuse to build themselves up ahead of this fixture, both sides were handed a Boxing Day mooch around with no football thanks to burst pipes and electrical failures respectively.  Indeed, for Reds fans at least postponements are becoming the norm as we’ve only played one game in the last month.

People say that in local derbies the formbook goes out of the proverbial window – certainly the red side of the A52 will be hoping this isn’t the case – Forest maintain their year-plus run of no defeats at the City Ground whilst the Rams have lost four league games on the bounce after impressive form lifted them into the play-off places.

The only injury concern for us – aside from the longer term absentees Blackstock and McGoldrick – is Dele Adebola who is still labouring wiht a knee injury picked up in the Leicester game.  With all due respect to the big striker, it could certainly be a lot worse.  I suppose the biggest selection poser for Billy is in midfield – and specifically whether to play captain Paul McKenna in the middle.

Derby will be without skipper Robbie Savage who cunningly got himself booked in order to be suspended for the visit of Doncaster, which was called off due to electrical failure.  They also have a doubt over another midfielder Stephen Pearson with a knee injury.  The absence of the Derby skipper means that there will be little to deflect the home fans vitriol from former Forest man Kris Commons.

Form is a bit of a misleading concept for the Reds given how little football we’ve played – but it’s been a pretty positive run, with the notable blip of our non-appearance at Leicester.  Wins against Palace, Cardiff and Coventry and a credible draw with QPR have seen us sneaking up the table before the postponed matches saw an artificial slide whilst our ‘games played’ column didn’t increment.

Derby have lost their last four – as mentioned above, at the hands of Reading, Bristol City, Norwich and Burnley, prior to that they beat Scunthorpe at home, and then another loss at Leicester.  Before that, though, they were on an excellent run of results – beating Ipswich, Portsmouth, Watford, Doncaster and Preston – with a defeat at the hands of Millwall in between.

My Ram-supporting spies also inform me that despite the poor run of results they’re on they are actually playing some decent football.  Despite them previously not liking him, the acknowledge the loss of Savage is not ideal for them – their talismanic and widely disliked captain putting in some decent performances.

Last season doesn’t need much reminding of – the home game saw the Reds romp to a 3-0 lead at half time, but a nerve-racking second half saw the Rams battle back to 3-2 providing a tense finish.  The game ended with Nathan Tyson celebrating with a corner flag innocently enough before the intervention of a number of embittered Derby players saw a load of handbags that were blown out of all proportion (and oddly centred on Tyson’s supposedly bad behaviour).

At Pride Park a less auspicious showing from the Reds saw our 18 game unbeaten run away from home ended thanks to the inevitable Rob Hulse goal against us.  Once again the game ended on an ugly note with a bit of a melee culminating in Billy Davies making laughably pantomime claims that Nigel Clough had ‘kneed’ him – which was borne out by video footage afterwards, although as far as I’m aware no action was taken.

It’s sometimes customary to reflect on connections between the two clubs – but right through history there’ve been so many you could write a book about that!  Current connections obviously start with the two managers, both played for their now opponents (albeit very briefly in Billy’s case), but Nigel Clough had a very auspicious career as Forest’s number nine under his dad.

In the starting elevens it’s likely that we’ll see Camp, Earnshaw and Tudgay – all of whom have spent time with the Rams as players.  Blackstock of course was on loan to the Rams briefly, whilst in the visitors line-up Derby’s key player this season with 12 goals is Kris Commons, former Reds midfielder.  They will also have Shaun Barker lining up, a boyhood Forest fan and Forest target before he signed for them.

Should Derby opt to play the open football they’ve been playing this season it could be a really tense open game – going forward they pose a threat, whilst in defence they can look calamitous.  Whilst I’d like to predict a whitewash (or a redwash?), I certainly don’t think their recent results represent their performances or capabilities.

Certainly an ill-tempered fixture is likely, so the referee will need to be both strong and fair – the atmosphere will be tense, and – well, with plenty of sets of fans still off work for the week I imagine the supporters will be ‘well lubricated’ and getting into the spirit of things.  I should be suitably noisy – even without the ‘singing section’ that Derby apparently requested from the Forest ticket office!

If it wasn’t the fact it was Derby I’d predict a win reasonably confidently (with the usual disclaimers I attach to such predictions!), but if ever a team would be motivated to come to the City Ground and get a result this is it – and even without Savage to get the crowd wound up and spur them on, they’ll certainly provide us with a stern test.

But we’re still going to win.*

* I hope!

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9 Responses

  1. 1st post?? Where the rest of the Forest fans? Oh well. Bring on the Sheep for shearing!!! 😀

  2. I agree NFFC. Direby look good going forward and shite at the back. If the game does open up, it could be a really high scoring game.

    5-4 anyone??

  3. Confident of a win here, need to get points away though!

  4. Tudgay and mcgugan to score. Will have to wait for Yankee robbie though as welsh robbie seems to have forgotten where the net is! Just hope lee can keep em out. Will be great to finally play/ watch some football!

  5. This will be a physical encounter and we need to be right up for it.They bullied us the last time @ pride park if we use the width and play fast and slick im confident we can open them up at the back.

    Commons must be watched hes notched a few this season I fancy Tudgay to come up with something.

    Come on Forest show the bottle and give us a great end to the year.

    U reds

  6. Providing we carry on from the Palace game we should come through the stronger .
    This is a great opportunity to give Ramsey a full run out .

  7. gonna be kickin me heels all day waiting for this one,,, on another note i may find myself in possesion of a spare ticket in the clough upper block N row 4, adult ticket, wont know for certain till about 3pm, anyone ?

  8. I’ve recently arrived in Buenos Aires and wondering wehether the game will be ‘streamed’ – not really knowing how to do this, any tips/pointers would be welcome!

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