Mark Warburton`s Nottingham Forest take on Gary Rowett`s Derby on Trentside, in this weekend`s Championship action.
Forest`s new, permanent Manager, Mark Warburton, takes the reins for the first time as they face the local rivals:
“It’s been good to come in, obviously you can imagine it’s been a bit of whirlwind getting to know players’ names and staff etc, etc, since arriving on Tuesday – but there’s been a great reception and warm welcome.
The players have been outstanding, first-class in their attitude so I’ve been delighted with that.
It’s a great place to be right now.’
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Stephen Henderson, Matty Fryatt, Jack Hobbs are all injured, with doubts surrounding Matt Mills, Chris Cohen and Eric Lichaj. Jamie Ward completes a 2 match ban for collecting 10 yellows.
With a new manager, it`s always difficult to predict whether he will stick by the majority of players who featured in the defeat at Burton or whether he`ll ring the changes to bring some of the forgotten players in Forest`s squad.
Player to watch: Britt Assombalonga
Amazingly, the 24 year DR Congo international striker will have been at Forest for 3 years in August – however, for a large proportion of that Britt has been absent with a career threatening knee injury.
With 9 goals in 24 appearances this season – BA09 is top scorer for Forest and will hoping for a recall from the new Manager, to help continue his good form against the Rams.
Derby County Team News:
With Gary Rowett also taking charge of his first game for the Rams – that could also signal a change in style or personnel.
Craig Forsyth, George Thorne, Jason Shackell and Nick Blackman are all expected to miss out with injury, Cyrus Christie is also regarded as a doubt, but Richard Keogh and Bradley Johnson are both expected to return after return injuries.
Player to watch: Matej Vydra
The 24 year old, Czech Republic International striker joined Derby (from Watford) in August for a fee of £8m midfielder.
Vydra, who has scored 3 in 30 appearances for Derby, loves playing against Forest, netting 7 League goals against us for his previous clubs.
Match Facts & Stats
Forest sit just 2 points and 2 places above the relegation places, with 40 points from 37 games (w11, d7, l19), scoring 51, but conceding 62 in the process.
Derby, in 10th position, are 10 points off the play off places – with 52 points from 37 games, 39 scored and 36 conceded (w14, d10,l13).
Both sides have been on a poor run of late; Forest have just 1 win in their last 7 – which includes 5 defeats which compares to Derby`s 1 win in 7, but they`ve only lost 4.
Peter Bankes will be the man in the middle of the latest East Midlands Derby – his 34th game in charge this season, in the previous 33, he has brandished 117 yellows and 10 red cards. Last season, he took charge of 38 matches, handing out 153 yellow cards and 5 red cards.
Mr Bankes will be ably assisted by Paul Hodskinson and Timothy Wood, with Geoff Eltringham 4th official.
For the 5th time in recent fixtures, there will be a change in managers contesting – this time, it`s both managers making their debut with their respective sides.
Such highly charged fixtures are always hard to predict, especially if an over zealous official get`s involved – but, with both teams having new managers, that throws in another curve ball.
For what it`s worth, the Bookies have Derby down as marginal favourites, but a 1-1 draw seems a fair bet given the circumstances.
Mark Warburton will have the 2 week international break to get to know his players, before Forest`s next fixture on 1st April, where a trip to Deepdale and PNE await (3-00pm KO).