The East Midlands derby is almost here. It is more than a game but everybody knows that, so, what will happen tomorrow?
Will there be goals?
Last season it was Pride Park that hosted a goal feast that Rams fans will not forget in a hurry, yet, in actual fact, it is the City Ground that has been the main venue for producing goals over recent times. Over the past 14 meetings (since both sides reunited in the Championship in 2008), 26 goals have been scored at the City Ground and 14 at Pride Park.
What about a red card?
I most certainly wouldn’t bet against a red card! The last two have come in Nottingham. There have been four in the last six meetings; Richard Keogh, Dexter Blackstock, Marcus Tudgay and Frank Fielding.
A managerial sacking?
Both of last season’s matches resulted in well-documented managerial sackings and Nigel Clough and Billy Davies aren’t alone in getting the chop after a local derby defeat, others have fallen victim to the occasion too. That is unlikely, of course, tomorrow.
I would honestly take a point tomorrow, Forest have started the season much better than I thought and, while Derby are getting towards their usual levels, they’re not their yet.
Much of how Derby will play will rest on who fills the shoes of George Thorne. John Eustace is likely to play and his experience may be key. The ex-Watford skipper will not provide the same passion vision and threat as Thorne so Will Hughes will be encouraged to get on the ball. I think it will be a good test of Hughes as, clearly, he has sought to improve his midfield presence this season. Forest’s fans will, rightly, point out that they have never seen the youngster live up to his reputation in these clashes.
Upsetting Stuart Pearce’s start to life back with the Reds would be a huge reminder to the rest of the league what the Rams are capable of.
What’s almost certain is that things will not get to the margin of victory as last time around. Tomorrow will most probably be tight, typically fiery and settled by a fine margin.
Come on you Rams!