Blogs & Opinion


Derby v Nottingham Forest: Craig Bryson and Jamie Paterson to make big impacts on Saturday

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 18th March 2014 view comments

What a treat lies in store for us in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off as East Midlands rivalries are renewed when third-placed Derby host sixth-placed Nottingham Forest.

Derby's inability to score in their previous four games - despite still creating ample opportunities to bulge the net - looks like it has put paid to their automatic-promotion chances.

Bry and mighty: Derby midfielder Bryson has bundles of energy and quality

Bry and mighty: Derby midfielder Bryson has bundles of energy and quality

But the brilliant run they went on from November 9 to January 1, when they took 25 points out of 27 before being beaten by Wigan, has guaranteed them a play-off berth.

However, Forest's paltry return of three points from the last 18 available has seen Wigan leapfrog them and Reading and Brighton close the gap to a solitary point, threatening a top-six place that after a 14-game unbeaten run looked nailed on.

Billy Davies' side have been affected by their manager's touchline ban and the £17million losses don't make for good reading either, so while Forest were swimming along quite nicely, there are now a few ripples in the water and the smiles have been replaced by furrowed brows.

That makes this derby game a bigger one for the visitors, but here are the men I expect to play a major part in proceedings...

DERBY

Chris Martin

Chris' 18 goals tell only half the story of the major role he has played in Derby's marvellous season as he is the building block from which many moves start. Clever, strong and with a good turn of pace, Martin has shown maturity and teamwork this campaign, which were missing in the earlier stages of his career.

Good balance and movement, a physical presence and, finally, high fitness levels mean all aspects of Chris' game pose a threat to back fours and with him holding that central position, Steve McClaren can employ two quick widemen to player either side or play Patrick Bamford up top in a two. Simon Dawkins, Johnny Russell, Jamie Ward and Bamford are often rotated but Martin's performances have made him an almost guaranteed starter.

Craig Bryson

Perpetual motion is how I would describe County's midfield dynamo. Non-stop, all-action performances have been abundant this season and he has been directly responsible for at least 19 goals, either by scoring or putting them on a plate for his team-mates. Often the Rams' match-winner, Craig is clever enough to time runs beyond strikers, choosing them carefully for maximum impact.

Richard Keogh

Keogh has been a tower of strength and model of consistency this term. He has responded brilliantly to being handed the armband in the absence of Shaun Barker, is a great competitor, communicator and leader, and has formed a formidable partnership with Jake Buxton, which has allowed the midfield to go forward at will and in numbers.

NOTT'M FOREST

Jamie Paterson

This talented young winger caught my eye playing for Walsall - for lots of reasons. He is totally two-footed and is able to go either way, has great balance and dribbling ability, and, since becoming a regular in the side, has become Forest's main threat in the final third.

Paterson's recent performances have shown a huge level of consistency and confidence, enabling him to express himself. Bright enough to go looking for the ball and come in off the line, his tendency to back people into the box has only strengthened my belief that this lad has a big future.

Karl Darlow

The youngster succeeded Lee Camp as Forest number one in January 2013, with his full debut a 2-1 win over Peterborough. He has become a virtual ever-present since, keeping three consecutive clean sheets at the beginning of the season, reinforcing his manager's belief in him. Darlow is a very confident young man who commands his box, has good distribution and agility, and is a great shot stopper - and against a Derby side shorn of goals recently, he could be vastly overworked.

Andy Reid

Forest are delighted to have their joint-top scorer back from injury as he is a chief architect from set-pieces and in open play. The man with a wand for a left foot has been responsible for 10 goals in all competitions and 13 assists, and has the ability to dictate the pace of play in any game. He is a big-match player, vastly experienced and could be a pivotal character in a potentially volatile fixture.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Gary Neville

Nev: Consistency key for Danny

Gary Neville says Arsene Wenger can turn Danny Welbeck into a great striker, as he did with Thierry Henry....

Graeme Souness

Souness: 'Liverpool lightweight'

Graeme Souness says Liverpool’s defeat in Basel proves that the current side is a shadow of their former selves....

Peter Beagrie

Beagrie: Vardy deserves cap

An England call-up would be rich reward for all of Jamie Vardy's hard work, says Peter Beagrie....

Latest News RSS feeds

Gerrard blasts 'soft' Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard accused his side of being "soft all over the pitch" in their 1-0 defeat at FC Basel.

Wenger hails electric Welbeck

Arsene Wenger says hat-trick hero Danny Welbeck showed the "instinct of a goalscorer" in Arsenal's win over Galatasaray.

Welbeck fires Arsenal to win

Danny Welbeck's hat-trick helped 10-man Arsenal ease to a 4-1 Champions League win over Galatasaray at the Emirates.

Liverpool slump to Basel defeat

Liverpool paid the price for a disjointed performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League.

Nev: Consistency key for Danny

Gary Neville says Arsene Wenger can turn Danny Welbeck into a great striker, as he did with Thierry Henry.

Features

Midfield master

Midfield master

Match-winner Nemanja Matic is now an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team, says Roberto di Matteo.

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

"I am absolutely sure that Manchester City will eventually win the Champions League," said Manuel Pellegrini before City's 1-1 draw with Roma. The key word being 'eventually'. On this evidence, City's date with destiny still lies far in the future.

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

“If we win all nine matches, Zenit will be champions.” The words of Andre Villas Boas upon being named Zenit St Petersburg manager in March seemed wildly optimistic given the circumstances.