Rams To Win Brian Clough DerbyStats
Nottingham Forest v Derby
Championship leaders Nottingham Forest entertain local rivals Derby County in one of football’s oldest derbies on Sunday afternoon.
Having dropped only two points from their five league games so far this term, Forest boss Stuart Pearce could hardly have asked for a better start to the season.
Their excellent run has put them a point clear of both Watford and Wolves at the top of English football’s second tier having earned wins over Blackburn, Bournemouth, Reading and, most recently, Sheffield Wednesday, when former Arsenal starlet Henri Lansbury hit the only goal of the game.
Capital One Cup victories over Tranmere and Huddersfield have also been achieved with Forest also boasting five clean sheets from their seven matches.
Britt Assombalonga has top scored for Forest with four goals in his five league outings this season.
Playoff finalists last season, Derby have began well this time around despite suffering the huge disappointment of failing to reach the Premier League after a last-minute defeat to QPR in the most lucrative game in world football.
Former England boss Steve McClaren’s side have lost just once, a 3-2 reverse to Charlton Athletic, and have collected a perfectly acceptable eight points from their five Championship matches.
They came away with a point from their last outing with Ipswich after Christoph Berra cancelled out the opener from Chris Martin – a third goal in three games for the Derby frontman, who this week signed a new four-year contract.
Forest striker Dexter Blackstock is still recovering from a knee operation and is not yet fit to line out up front. With no new injury concerns Pearce looks set to keep faith with the starting XI which earned a narrow victory over Sheffield Wednesday in their last game.
Derby hope to include Jamie Ward after the attacker suffered an injury on international duty for Northern Ireland last week. The Rams are expected to be without midfield duo Jeff Hendrick and Paul Coutts along with long term absentee George Thorne and club captain Shaun Barker.
Loan arrivals Ryan Shotton and Jordan Ibe are likely to play some part with the latter in line for a club debut after arriving from Liverpool at the end of last month.
Head to Head
Derby completely dominated the last clash between the sides when they ran out 5-0 winners at Pride Park in March, when Craig Bryson helped himself to a hat-trick with Hendrick and Johnny Russell grabbing the other goals.
Forest were 1-0 winners in this fixture last season when Jack Hobbs scored the only goal of the game. There has been only one draw in the last 12 clashes between the teams while County won on four of their prior six visits to the City Ground.
Given their fine showings to date Pearce’s men certainly look well priced at 29/20 for a seventh win in eight here, although they have yet to face any of the strongly fancied sides in the Championship, a group which undoubtedly includes Derby.
Taking that and the Rams’ fine record in this fixture in recent years into account – even if Forest do look a different prospect this season – I think there’s plenty of value in Derby at 19/10 while Martin celebrating a new contract in style with a goal anytime at the same price is also worth getting into.