The latest clash between Derby County and bitter East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest is possibly the most important in recent years. Nigel Clough and his side should be desperate to atone for the thrashing they recieved on the banks of The Trent in December and halt a slide which has seen seven games lost in the last nine, whereas a Forest win would be their first ever at Pride Park and would put them in serious contention for a play-off place.
Rams stopper Stephen Bywater is desperate to right the wrongs from last month: ‘You shouldn’t need any incentive to get up for any game, to be honest,’ said the 29-year-old. ‘But I’ve got a grievance against Forest, because they beat us so badly at their place.
‘I’m still angry about the game at their place and I know the fans will be looking for us to get the win.
‘So we’ll go out there and maybe take out a bit of frustration on Forest.
‘I know how much it means to the supporters, because they go on (social networking website) Twitter and tell me how they feel.
‘Fair play to them and that makes me want to beat Forest even more.’
Forest boss Billy Davies wants the away fans to influence the game in his side’s favour: ‘It is an interesting prospect, because we will have more than 4000 fans there this time,’ said Davies.
‘This time it will be a different story and the extra backing can only help.
‘Their backing could make a difference.’
Forest defender Luke Chambers also says the travelling fans could be a key factor: ‘I don’t think any of them will stop singing for 90 minutes,’ he said.
‘It is fantastic that we will have so many there, because it will give a boost to everyone in the dressing room.
‘They will do all they can to drown out the home supporters.
‘The home fans will come in their numbers hoping they get the bragging rights.
‘But the travelling fans can help us to settle into the game and give us the confidence to get the three points we are after.’
The Rams Team News:
Full-back Dean Moxey may come back in on the left for Gareth Roberts. Ben Davies, new signing from Notts County, may come into the side having signed on Thursday. Stephen Pearson, Jake Buxton, Dean Leacock and Stephen Davies are all in line for places in the squad.
Player to watch: Miles Addison
After some extremely meek tackling in the humiliation in Nottingham last month, there is one player who will be desperate to fly in with hard fair tackles, and that is Miles Addison. He will add steel to the Derby side and is getting stronger with every game.
The Reds Team News:
Forest have no new injury worries. Reds skipper Paul McKenna may be in line for a place in the side after being a substitute in his side’s 2-1 win over Portsmouth.
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay/Robert Earnshaw
The ex-Ram forward line crushed us in December in the 5-2 battering at The City Ground with two goals apiece. Tudgay has been in great form since signing from Sheffield Wednesday.
Match Facts & Stats
Nottingham Forest (a) 2-5
Preston North End (a) 2-1
Millwall (h) 0-0
Crawley Town (a) 1-2
Watford (a) 0-3
Derby County (h) 5-2
Barnsley (h) 2-2
Ipswich Town (a) 1-0
Preston North End (a) 2-1
Portsmouth (h) 2-1
Derby County vs. Ipswich Town, Tue 1st January, 19:45pm, The Championship