The final instalment of this East Midlands rivalry takes place at the City Ground today, with three remarkable games already, and another eventful afternoon is in store. From the infamous ‘goals` at Pride Park back in November to the two cup clashes and the comeback from 2-0 down to see Kris Commons score the winning goal in his first visit back to his old home ground things have never been dull on the pitch this season. Off the pitch there are the obvious connections with both managers having connections with the other side and also high profile players from both camps having spent time in the opposition camp. The two sides appear to be heading in different directions on current form but that will be put to one side when the sides step out on the pitch.
Nigel Clough knows there is room for improvement despite a 4-1 midweek victory against Blackpool when Kris Commons again proved the match winner with two goals and an assist. His partnership with Rob Hulse is growing and his all round game has improved immensely since his move into the middle and the freedom that role brings. The front pair have scored eight goals between them in the last seven games and have created many more as Derby have found their scoring boots and new signing Chris Porter has been forced to settle for a place on the bench due to their form. Gary Teale will be missed if he is not fit to start after some great performances in recent weeks and Miles Addison may miss out with an ankle/foot injury.
Billy Davies has been scathing in his assessment of some of his side`s recent performances, most notably the 2-1 loss to Ipswich Town on Wednesday night, and they have been sucked back towards the relegation zone. Their young squad are struggling to cope with the pressure of being at the wrong end of the table according to the Scot who is desperate to bring in more experience to boost their chances. Rob Earnshaw seems set to miss out whilst this game may come too soon for Guy Moussi.
‘It’s not just good all-round play but they are getting goals between them.
‘They have different attributes and it’s gelling well between them at the moment.’
Nigel Clough talking to Radio Derby about the blossoming partnership between Rob Hulse and Kris Commons.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Rob Earnshaw will miss out against his former side again whilst long term absentee Paul Anderson is not ready to return. Kelvin Wilson may face a late fitness test but Guy Moussi is looking to return after four months out.
Player to watch: Nathan Tyson
Looks to be Forest`s main goal threat in recent weeks with the injury to Rob Earnshaw, his pace has caused a few concerns at the back for Derby in recent encounters and he scored the penalty to give his side a 2-0 advantage last time in the cup replay.
Derby County Team News:
Gary Teale looks set to miss out with the hamstring injury he picked up against Blackpool on Wednesday and Miles Addison`s foot injury may not be recovered in time for him to play. Luke Varney is still not training so will not be considered.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Took the game to Forest in the marvellous comeback last time in the cup and scored the winning goal on his first return to the City Ground. Has been in a rich vein of form since them and will be looking to spearhead another away victory here.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Cardiff City (A) 0-2
Derby County (H) 2-3 Cohen, Tyson
Queens Park Rangers (H) 2-2 McGugan, Cohen
Birmingham City (A) 0-2
Ipswich Town (A) 1-2 Tyson
Coventry City (H) 2-1 Hulse, Commons
Nottingham Forest (A) 3-2 Hulse, Green, Commons
Plymouth Argyle (A) 3-0 Teale, Hulse (2)
Manchester United (H) 1-4 Addison
Blackpool (H) 4-1 Commons (2), Green, Barazite
After a result that was possibly better than the performance on Wednesday Derby showed they have the players to turn a match in their favour and the final 15 minutes showed the football they are capable of. If they hit anything like that form, or that shown for 70 minutes last time here then they should pick up a win but these local derbies are always intense affairs and Forest will undoubtedly raise their game. Derby 2-1.
27th Feb v Doncaster Rovers (Coca Cola Championship) Keepmoat Stadium