Football Expert & Columnist
East Midlands Derby is a barometer for Nottingham Forest, says David Prutton
Last Updated: 15/10/17 6:54pm
Derby host Nottingham Forest in the first East Midlands derby of the season on Sunday, with both sides in need of three points.
Ahead of the game, which is live on Sky Sports Football from 1pm, former Forest midfielder David Prutton assesses the contest, his memories of playing in it and the expectations for Mark Warburton's side...
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"It's as nicely balanced a game as we could have wished for. Both sides have shown inconsistency so far this season, and it's a good chance for either to lay down a marker and try and get on a run, which they're both in desperate need of.
"The Derby fans will be in full voice and Forest will also travel in good numbers. It'll make for a real test of the players' nerves and their mental state, as any big derby game is.
"The memories I've got of the game are more about the feeling of it than the actual game. It sounds a bit obvious, but you just go out there hoping to have a good game and for all the forces at work to conspire for you so you come away with the win."
Substance over style
"Forest had to start well to try and maintain the good feeling from staying up at the end of last season. What we've seen in the last few games is a team that can play well but needs to do it in more prolonged patches.
"Mark Warburton has alluded to his team not dominating enough of games to win them, but it's still a work in progress. He knows how to get teams pushing up to the upper reaches of the division, and given time and patience to work those ideas into his team, he'll be a success.
"The Derby game will be a good barometer for Forest because of the power and experienced they've got. Warburton should be applauded for wanting his team to play in a way that's easy on the eye, but he knows that results are fundamentally what it's all about.
"He won't abandon his style completely to get results, but he'll make sure the players know it's about results first and foremost, while style is an added bonus."
"They've got to look at the top 10 at least. We've seen the Championship open up this season and it's shown that consistency is always the key. It's a straightforward philosophy that the more games you play better in, the more you win, and the more you win the more chance you've got of getting promoted.
"So, after several seasons of treading water, the top half of the table has to be a minimum requirement. Anything beyond that is a bonus."
"If Forest play on the counter and they get Daryl Murphy into positions where he can retain possession and build a platform for them then they'll have a decent chance.
"But it's such a well-balanced game and I'm really looking forward to it."