Nottingham Forest vs Derby preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football
Watch live on Sky Sports Football from midday on Saturday; Kick-off is at 12.30pm
Last Updated: 09/11/19 12:37pm
Nottingham Forest face Derby in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Nottingham Forest will have club captain Michael Dawson available for their Sky Bet Championship clash with local rivals Derby. Centre-back Dawson has missed the last five matches with a calf injury he sustained during his side's match at Stoke in September.
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Samba Sow and Alfa Semedo are both nearing a return, according to manager Sabri Lamouchi, although the game against the Rams is expected to come too soon for the midfield pair. On the long-term injured list are Tenday Darikwa, who remains out for the season with a knee injury, while Yohan Benalouane (back), Michael Hefele (Achilles) and Carl Jenkinson (ankle) could return soon.
Scott Malone has been ruled out of Derby's squad. The defender sustained an injury to his knee during the Rams' 2-0 win against Middlesbrough last Saturday.
Malone is expected to be replaced by Max Lowe, who also took over from the left-back at the weekend. Derby manager Phillip Cocu has no other fresh injury concerns, although Tom Huddlestone (knee) and Ikechi Anya (calf) remain sidelined, while Craig Forsyth continues to build up his fitness after missing nearly a year with a knee injury.
Last weekend, Nottingham Forest beat Luton 2-1 at Kenilworth Road off the back of two straight defeats; they lost 2-1 to Hull at the City Ground on October 23, having narrowly been beaten away at Wigan three days earlier. Those two losses were sandwiched inbetween victories, with Forest having triumphed 1-0 against Brentford at the start of October.
Derby remain in the middle of a cluttered Sky Bet Championship table at present and their position has not been helped by their sheer inconsitency of late. They beat struggling Middlesbrough 2-0 last time out, but lost 2-0 away at Hull before that. Prior to that they beat Wigan 1-0, but Charlton had already breezed past them 3-0 in the previous outing.
What the managers said...
Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi: "Against Derby it is always the same situation; just one way - win. It will be the same for their manager and players and we will try our best to take the three points on Saturday. I do not need to fire up the players. They know absolutely how important the game is for the fans.
"Our players want what the fans want - the victory. It will be an emotional game, a tough game, a tactical game against a very difficult opponent. Not just because of the rivalry but because both teams are similar. We need to be ready, we are ready so we now need to enjoy it and to give our best for the best result."
Derby boss Phillip Cocu: "Winning is always a good feeling but sometimes it feels better when it's such a big game. We are not worrying about motivation or having the right attitude because it's such a big game coming up. I like to play a big game before the international break because I know the players will be focused on the game on Saturday and not almost travelling to their countries to play international games."
"We need a result to climb up the table and we have the ambition to be higher up in the league. If you look at the team we have, we have to be capable of making some steps and that's about finding consistency in the games that we play and the attitude that we show."
Talking point: East Midlands derby takes centre stage
These two rivals have already met once this season, when Forest ran out 3-0 winners in a Carabao Cup clash back at the end of August, but there seems to be a change of tone ahead of this next meeting, with Sabri Lamouchi's men impressing near the top of the table, while Derby uncharacteristically languish in mid-table.
It's been all too long since Forest challenged for a return to the top flight for the first time since the 1998/99 campaign, but they've not lost any of the last four derby clashes and victory on Saturday would boost morale no end. What seems to be certain, however, is that a goal-fest may be out of the question: The last five meetings have produced just six goals.
Nottingham Forest are looking to win three consecutive games against Derby in all competitions for the first time since January 1990 under Brian Clough.
Derby are winless in seven visits to the City Ground against Nottingham Forest (W0 D3 L4) since winning 1-0 in September 2012 under Nigel Clough.
Sabri Lamouchi is looking to become the first Nottingham Forest manager to win consecutive matches in all competitions against Derby since Billy Davies in January 2011.
Since winning his first two away games in all competitions as Derby manager, Phillip Cocu is winless in seven on the road (W0 D3 L4).
Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Nottingham Forest's Lewis Grabban has scored 79 Championship goals - three more than any other player.
No Championship player has scored more goals from outside the box than Derby's Tom Lawrence this season (four goals).
Is this the season Nottingham Forest finally put together a run at the top six? It has been far too long since a club of their stature seriously challenged for promotion after all.
Derby were thumped by their rivals in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, and it really has been a difficult start for Phillip Cocu, both on and off the pitch. He can't really afford a big loss here but I don't think they will get anything either.
David Prutton predicts: 2-1 (8/1 with Sky Bet)