Date: 29th September 2012 at 10:37am
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Sean O`Driscoll takes Nottingham Forest into his first ever East Midlands derby encounter as manager tomorrow, when the Mighty Red Dogs of Nottingham take on the Sheep Shaggers of Derby at the City Ground. O`Driscoll admits that the intensity of the occasion in his previous experience as first team coach last season surprised him.

The fixture has always been the first one both sets of supporters look for when they come out in August, where the passion and rivalry remains as intense as it`s always been. Previous meetings between the two clubs in recent years have been feisty affairs to put it mildly. We`ve had Robbie Savage`s scarf waving antics, Nathan Tyson`s infamous “flag gate,” a touchline bust up between former boss Billy Davies and Sheep boss Nigel Clough and last years` less than savoury chants from the “Shaggers” support towards deceased Chairman Nigel Doughty.

The two managers on this occasion are contrasting characters. We have the mild mannered and cool head of Mr. Sean O`Driscoll, versus the usually less than complementary about all things Nottingham Forest, Mr. Nigel Clough. In his three short months at the club, O`Driscoll has already won over the vast majority of the Forest faithful, with his tippy tappy brand of football and an array of impressive summer signings. Clough on the other hand took on the manager`s role at Pride Park in 2009 and has been in charge of the Rams for nearly four years now. He`s won nothing so far, although he has had to work under tight financial constraints and a less than satisfied supporter base.

Speaking to the NFFC official site ahead of the game tomorrow, O`Driscoll said. “The intensity of the game at Pride Park last season surprised me. I remember chatting to Nigel Clough while the game was going on and asking him if all Forest-Derby games were the same? He told me they were usually worse and that it`s been known for the managers to start fighting as well. It did surprise me but it`s a local derby involving two big clubs with big traditions, both have been highly successful in their time and both are trying to find a way back to those heights.”

Putting the bitter rivalry to one side, the two sides go into the game separated by only two points in the league table, with Forest in 10th on 10 points and the Rams in 17th on 8. Whilst they did manage to do the double over us last term and retain the Brian Clough Trophy into the bargain, the Reds` can claim overall bragging rights from the 80 league encounters over the years. Forest have won 33, lost 28 and 19 games have ended in draws.

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