On Saturday, Derby will face local rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park (kick-off 1:00pm) and will be looking for another double over the Reds. Forest will face the Rams with their fifth different manager in 5 matches between the two clubs.
The clubs go into the game three points apart with Forest three points above Derby after a win over Peterborough last week, meanwhile the Rams suffered an away defeat at the hands of Brighton. Just three times is the amount of times that the Nottingham side have picked up all three points away from home this season. They will travel to Pride Park, where the Rams have only lost twice all season and have made it a very tough place to go and get something for Championship clubs.
In terms of recent form it has been a bit up and down for the sides. Both clubs won two out of six in December and both have won one of their first two league games of the new year. During the campaign so far, the sides have been pretty neck and neck, always sitting fairly close in the table. Form does appear to be no suggestion to the outcome of the game though, as we’ve seen plenty of occasions where the inform side lose local derbies.
Past 5 matches: Derby County; 1-2 Brighton (A), 5-0 Tranmere (H, FA Cup), 3-1 Middlesbrough (H), 1-1 Charlton (A), 0-2 Burnley (A). Nottingham Forest; 2-1 Peterborough (H), 2-3 Oldham (H, FA Cup), 0-3 Blackburn (A), 2-2 Crystal Palace (H), 4-2 Leeds (H).
Looking at previous meetings between the two East Midlanders, of recent meetings Derby are certainly on top. The Reds have only won 3 of the past 15 games. The past three have of course been won by the Rams. The Reds have only one victory to their name at Pride Park. Despite the great recent form in this fixture, Derby County have won 33 of these fixtures, Nottingham Forest have picked up 36 victories and fought out 21 draws in this fixture.
On the team front, midfielder Craig Bryson could make his return after missing the past four matches. Nigel Clough is clearly desperate to get the Scotsman out there for the game and said ‘In an ideal world he would be another week, but just with the nature of the game on Saturday we’re going to try to get him out there. He’s one of our main players, when he’s fit he stays in the team. He’s an important player for us, not just for the energy he brings but also for his quality on the ball, and we miss him when he doesn’t play.’
It appears that 17-year old wonder-kid Will Hughes is on course to return to action for the all important derby clash. The England under-21 international took a knock to his back in the defeat at Brighton on Saturday. Elsewhere on the team front for the Rams, former-Red Nathan Tyson will be unavailable due to joining fellow Championship side Millwall on-loan for the remainder of the season, meanwhile Derby remain without Jake Buxton, who is however back in light training and could be back in two weeks, and long term injury absentee Shaun Barker.
For the Reds, skipper Danny Collins has now served his suspension ban and is available for selection. Former Derby County loanee Daniel Ayala remains out for the rest of this month, whilst midfielder Adlene Guedioura is away on African Nations Cup duty with Algeria. Goalkeeper Lee Camp looks unlikely to play after being told he can leave the club this month, Norwich and Ipswich have been linked so Karl Darlow looks set to continue in goal. Alex McLeish has signed 25-year old Kuwaiti goalkeeper Khalid Al-Rashidi, allowed Robbie Findlay to leave and could be without Andy Reid for the match.
Billy Sharp is the in form striker for Nottingham Forest and is their top goalscorer. He’ll be one that Nigel Clough’s men will look to keep quiet. The former-Doncaster striker is a proven goalscorer at this level. On the other hand, we all know how dangerous to oppositions a fit Jamie Ward can be, if he produces the magic we know he’s capable of then he’ll be the one to watch for McLeish and his side.
Earlier on in this season, 30th September to be exact, the Rams won 1-0 at the City Ground. A second half goal from Scottish midfielder Craig Bryson was the difference between the two sides. The home fans were furious when their striker Dexter Blackstock saw red for an elbow on Richard Keogh. This game marked a third consecutive black and white win in this fixture.
This is certainly no ordinary fixture and is a great rivalry that has sparked some games and moments that many will never forget. Here’s a look at some different matches, chosen for different reasons – the first one is controversy.
There’s been no shortage of controversial moments that have happened over the years, one particular one, over four years ago, will love long in many Rams fans’ memories for all the wrong reasons.
I am of course talking about the game in November 2008. What an outrage that game was, you can watch it again all you like and you’ll never understand referee Stuart Attwell’s decisions. To top it all off ex-Ram and Derby born and bred goalkeeper Lee Camp saved Nacer Barazite’s penalty.
If you were a Ram back in 1979 then there’s no doubt that you will remember this match. It had been a difficult season up until this game for the Rams when Forest, who were European champions at the time, visited . It was definitely fair to say that, at the time, Derby were in a mess and the Reds were flying high – the match turned out to be totally the opposite of what many would have predicted for the game at the Baseball Ground.
The game will go down as one of the best, if not the best, Derby victory over our rivals for a number of supporters. An extremely rare Peter Shilton error allowed Gerry Daly to score after just 13 minutes. Shortly after Shilton again made a mistake misjudging a cross, setting up an easy header for John Duncan. Steve Emery was next to capitalise on Forest’s poor defensive display. An early second half goal from the away side from the penalty spot didn’t spoil the party for Derby, who went on to score another, through John Duncan, to send former boss Brian Clough home very angry. Watch some footage from the game below, listen to Graham Richards’ fantastic commentary!
Proving that form has no bearing on these matches, the January 2010 meeting – then bottom half strugglers Derby beat then unbeaten away Forest at Pride Park. The Reds were flying high under Billy Davies, unbeaten for 19 games prior to the game. The only likely conclusion seemed like an away win but it wasn’t to be for the travelling support. A delightful Rob Hulse header from an exquisite Kris Commons free-kick proved to be the difference.
However the game is often remembered for a seemingly mad Billy Davies claiming that Nigel Clough ‘kneed him’ during a skirmish, after the game Davies refused to shake Clough’s hand. Sore loser?
Last time at Pride Park the sides battled it out on a cold March night. The game did, however, have a couple of sour notes. Rams skipper Shaun Barker suffered an awful injury to his knee and certain chants from the stands came under scrutiny. Other than that, a stoppage time goal from Jake Buxton won the game and sent many proud Derby fans home with local bragging rights. The goal was extra special for Buxton, who has a number of Forest supporting family members. Local derbies rarely pass without a sending off, this was no different. Ex-Ram Marcus Tudgay was given his marching orders for an out of order lunge on Craig Bryson.
With there being such a late dramatic winner this will always be remembered. The roaring Pride Park atmosphere after that goal will certainly be something to savour for all those that witnessed it.
If you’ve got time to spare then certainly give this video (below) a watch. DerbyCountyGoals have put it together aiming to capture the emotion and importance of the fixture, showing some great memories!
Derby and Forest are both fortunate to share the legendary figures of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’s legacy. The formidable management pairing took the Rams from Division Two strugglers to English champions in their six years at the Baseball Ground. After spending a bit of time apart they reunited at the City Ground, with manager Clough and assistant Taylor taking the club to the top of Europe. However in 1982 Peter Taylor parted company with the Reds and Clough to become manager of Derby. Peter retired in 1982 and Brian retired in 1993, both legends of both clubs and will never be forgotten. The clubs unite on their respect for these men.
These fixtures are always so tough to predict but I’m going to go with my heart and predict a 2-1 win for Derby! Very rarely are they settled by more than one goal. I’m sure all the players are up for the game but can they be prepared for the occasion? We’ll see who handles the hostile atmosphere and added pressure best. To have Craig Bryson back fit will be pivotal for the Rams and maybe Derby can capitalise on some un-experianced Forest goalkeeping with Lee Camp not playing. Don’t forget that the game is the feature match on the BBC’s Football League Show at 11:50pm on Saturday.
On a final note from me, COME ON YOU RAMS!