The first (proper) East Midlands game of the season is just around the corner, and it could be an absolutely vital match for the confidence of the two sides.
Forest are struggling at the start of the season but will look to gain momentum with a victory over their massive rivals, whereas The Rams have stuttered after a flying start to the season and will be desperate to get back to winning ways, especially after *that* game last season.
Forest are having serious trouble shifting tickets for the biggest game of the season and are still trying to sell out for the clash by offering to waive the £2 fee usually charged to home fans for purchasing their seat on the day.
It would be a great shame if the ground wasn’t packed out for one of the top derbies in the country.
Nigel Clough has spoken of the hurt and humiliation which he still feels after the 5-2 drubbing they received last season at the hands of Billy Davies’ Nottingham Forest: ‘There’s an element of inspiration to put things right after last year,’ he told Rams Player.
‘When you look at the squad we have now, there will be very few players from last year who will start on Saturday. It might be a good thing; we’re not sure.
‘The defeat and performance hurt us a lot last season and we hope it hurt those who are still here just as much.
‘The new boys may not have played in this game before, but they will have a feel for the disappointment having been around the place for long enough.
‘The majority of the goals were mistakes last year and it was a self-inflicted defeat which was nowhere near good enough.
‘It was my lowest ebb as a manger, especially as it was a local derby.’
Forest boss Steve McClaren has spoken of his experience of the East Midlands Derby as a Rams player: ‘When you are in it it’s as big as the Manchester ‘derby’ or any other ‘derby’ – it’s a passionate affair.
‘I think we demonstrated with the Notts County game last month how the atmosphere can be different and can be electric.
‘I hope to get that again tomorrow. I want it to be a special game, a different game, and I want it to be the start of us winning matches, which we need to do.
‘In one of my first seasons I played for Derby against Forest at the Baseball Ground in a cup tie.
‘All I remember is that it was a fantastic occasion, a good game between two fantastic teams.
‘Forest were in the top flight and we were in the old Second Division and although we got beat I remember it being a great game.
‘There was a wonderful atmosphere with great passion. It just had that feeling of being a special game, not just for the players but for the fans.’
Forest Team News:
Steve McClaren has worries over four of his players for the big clash.
Marcus Tudgay, George Boateng, Paul Anderson and striker Robbie Findley all missed the defeat at St. Mary’s and are doubtful for the lunchtime kick-off.
Player to watch: Matt Derbyshire
Striker Matt Derbyshire has had a tough year after a goalless spell at Birmingham City, but he is a good player who has undoubted talent, and has proved it in the English top flight, as well as in Greece.
The Rams Team News:
All the talk ahead of this one is the possible debut of former Reds favourite, Nathan Tyson.
The former Wycombe man turned down the offer of a new contract to sign for The Rams and would be many people’s bet to score a goal.
Player to watch: Nathan Tyson
Although he is unlikely to start, former Forest striker, Tyson, looks set to play some part against his old side.
Although he is likely to be short of match fitness, the pacy frontman will be keen to prove a point against his former employers and show that he will be missed at The City Ground.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby County last 5:
Coventry City (a) 0-2
Burnley (h) 1-2
Doncaster Rovers (h) 3-0
Blackpool (a) 1-0
Watford (a) 1-0
Nottingham Forest last 5:
Southampton (a) 2-3
West Ham United (h) 1-4
Wycombe Wanderers (a) 4-1
Leicester City (h) 2-2
Doncaster Rovers (a) 1-0
Derby County vs. Millwall, Sat 24th September, 15:00pm, The Championship