Nottingham Forest v Derby County
The City Ground, Sunday 1:15 kick off
The game may be on Sunday, but I think all Championship fans will admit that there is no bigger game this weekend so where better to start our weekend preview. Everyone related to both Forest and Derby will remember the events that took place at the iPro Stadium on 22nd March 2014. The Rams embarrassed their midlands rivals with a 5-0 victory that left deep scars in the Forest fans. Just 2 days later Billy Davies was sacked, however after Stuart Pearce has guided the Reds to an unbeaten start to the season and the summit of the Championship table, Forest are sensing revenge.
Throughout the summer new signings and players returning to fitness for Forest has developed a squad rich in ability and guile. They expressed both these qualities in the opening month of the season in smashing victories like the home win over Reading and tough battles like their victory away at Bournemouth. It has to be said that Pearce has been fortunate to maintain an almost fully fit squad to choose from so far this season, although you can not play down the part he has played in getting the club back heading in the right direction as they push for promotion. Michail Antonio has been a menace on the flanks for Forest and he was nominated for the Championship Player of the Month with 3 goals and as many assists in the opening 5 games of the season. His pace and power makes him a real handful and he is Forest’s key man in this massive clash.
Let us not forget who Forest are up against in Derby County. Everyone knows that they should have won the play-off final but it just was not meant to be. The Rams have started the season with a determination to put things right and have made it through a difficult opening month within touching distance of the early leaders. Steve McClaren is building something at Derby, but as is the nature of modern football it is very much a results business and failure to do so this season could cause doubts among some sections of fans. It remains early days this season and 3 points at their biggest rivals would be a statement to the rest of the league from Derby. Midfielder Craig Bryson scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 win back in March and his late runs into the box and lethal finishing makes him a big threat. He is the Rams’ key man in this match.
Score prediction: 2-1 Forest win