Date:Friday August 28 2009
The City Ground
On Saturday, Nigel Clough`s Derby County travel to Nottingham and the City Ground; site of two victories for the men in white last season and of two humiliating defeats for our famous neighbours who ply their trade in red: Billy Davies` Nottingham Forest. Forest will be keen to claim a win against the Rams having seen their side meekly succumb to their fierce East Midands rivals on two occasions in the last campaign, although in the same season, they achieved two creditable 1-1 draws at Pride Park Stadium. It will be Billy Davies` first return to Pride Park as a manager, having missed the F.A. Cup tie as a result of an illness to his son. Colin Calderwood was Forest boss in the home league fixture, but the less said about that game, the better. This is a very different Forest team, one which is not beset with some of the injuries that they were last time around (although Derby`s team was also significantly weakened) and they are a threat to be taken seriously, having invested in the region of 6-7 million pounds in the summer on several high-profile arrivals. It will be a very interesting game indeed.
"It`s a massive day for Derby and Forest fans and anyone who has been connected with the clubs down the years," said Commons, talking to the Derby Evening Telegraph. "So it`s going to be good but it won`t count for anything unless we get the win. I`m sure we will get a lot of stick but, as players, you thrive on that sort of pressure and it didn`t do us any harm last season." Commons will no doubt be coming in for more stick than many other Derby players, having left Forest to join the Rams on a free transfer last season, but he doesn`t seem the type to be bothered by such matters, having scored a goal and delivered a couple of assists from set pieces against the Reds last season.
Forest boss, diminutive Scot and ex-Rams manager Billy Davies, insist he and his team are not motivated by the possibility of getting revenge on their local rivals, after he lost his Derby job a couple of years ago, and his team were twice beaten on Trentside last season. Speaking to the official Forest website, he insists: "That score to settle will be at the end of the season when we finish higher than Derby in the league or get ourselves in a very good position with regard to league standings and future events. It's not just about three points - it's about the big picture! But if we play the way we've played in the last five or six games there's no doubt they will be in for a difficult time."
Forest have only one injury worry, that of defender Joel Lynch, which should mean that midfielder Chris Cohen will drop back into Lynch`s left-back role. The Reds do have long term absentees: Lewis McGugan, James Perch, Julian Bennett, Kelvin Wilson and Guy Moussi. Gareth McCleary had to sit out the Carling Cup clash at home to Boro with an ankle injury, but he is expected to make the staring line up for the big game.
The ex-Ram stopper infamously saved a last minute penalty in the 1-1 home draw against Forest last season (as if anybody needs reminding). Sometimes shaky on crosses, but a good shot-stopper, he will be key in keeping out Hulse and Commons, players who scored key goals against the Reds last term.
Steve Davies, scorer of an excellent penalty the last time the sides met, is out with a leg injury he sustained in the recent victory over Plymouth Argyle, which is expected to improve over the international break. As a result, Rob Hulse and Kris Commons will be looking to start the game on Saturday. Both players enjoyed great success against the men in red last season, so them starting this fixture would be a massive boost. New signing Paul Dickov will be in the squad after penning a loan deal from Leicester City until January. Whilst Paul Green has been nursing a foot injury, he may play if he has a pain-killing injection. Central defenders Dean Leacock and Shaun Barker, a top defensive target for Forest in the summer, played in the reserve team thrashing of Shrewsbury Town, and are available for selection. Giles Barnes, Chris Porter and Luke Varney (on loan at Sheffield Wednesday) are not going to be playing any part in the game.
Forest signed veteran forward Dele Adebola from Bristol City in the summer, and at 6ft 3in, he will be a handful. 6ft 2in central defender Addison will have to be on top form to beat him in the air. Miles could add to his two in four goal ratio in the league so far this season if the opportunity presents itself.
Last 5: Derby County
Plymouth Argyle (h) 2-1
Blackpool (a) 0-0
Scunthorpe United (a) 2-3
Rotherham United (a) 1-2
Peterborough United (h) 2-1
Last 5: Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest 2-1 (aet)
Queens Park Rangers (a) 1-1
Watford (h) 2-4
West Bromwich Albion (h) 0-1
Bradford City (h) 3-0
Derby County vs. Sheffield United, Saturday 12 September 2009 13:00, The Coco-Cola Football League Championship
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Date:Friday August 28 2009
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