Derby County vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Who will come out on top in the latest East Midlands Derby?

Derby County will be looking to get back to winning ways in The Championship as they take on fierce rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park on Sunday afternoon.

Derby County vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Who will come out on top in the latest East Midlands Derby?
Derby County vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Who will come out on top in the latest East Midlands Derby? (picture: Getty Images / Malcolm Couzens)

Derby County will be looking to get back to winning ways in The Championship as they take on fierce rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park on Sunday afternoon. 

The Rams went into the international break following a 0-0 draw away at Cardiff City which is not a bad result given the Bluebirds' start to the season. However, they will be desperate to get three points on the board on Sunday afternoon. 

As for Nottingham Forest, they claimed a vital three points as they beat inform Sheffield United 2-1 at The City Ground to end what was a difficult spell for the Reds. 

How they've fared so far

Derby were once again among the favourites for promotion from the division at the start of the season, as they have for many years now. However, it has not been the start that Gary Rowett would have wanted. The Rams have been very inconsistent so far which sees them sat mid-table having picked up only three wins in their opening 10 matches. 

Many Derby supporters will point out that they sold numerous key players this summer including the likes of Tom Ince and Will Hughes who joined Premier League sides Huddersfield Town and Watford respectively. They were both huge players for Derby and have been missed in the early stages of this campaign. Derby did need to sell a couple of players for significant fees to avoid breaking Financial Fair Play regulations after spending a lot of money in recent years trying to win promotion to the top flight. 

Derby's inconsistency this season was summed up in September when they beat Hull City 5-0 at Pride Park one week before falling to a 4-1 defeat to Bristol City the next. Rowett played a very similar starting line-up, yet there was such a significant difference in the level of performance which must be very frustrating for everyone connected with the club. This is something that will have to change if they are to be successful this season. 

As for Nottingham Forest, they have had a very similar start to the season. Mark Warburton is in the process of implementing his style of play and this is something that will take time for the Forest squad to master. The Reds can be unplayable on their day but their defensive frailty has once again been exposed on too many occasions already this season. 

The win over Sheffield United before the international break was a huge one as pressure was already starting to build on Warburton following a poor run of form. The Reds will now be desperate to build on that victory by at least picking up a result at Pride Park on Sunday, something they have not been capable of in recent years.

Last time they met

Derby last played Forest in The Championship in a 2-2 draw at The City Ground in March. Zach Clough had given the hosts the lead just minutes into the match but goals from Matej Vydra and David Nugent early on in the second-half turned the game on it's head. However, Daniel Pinillos secured his side a share of the spoils with a headed equaliser deep into injury time. 

Derby got the better of Forest at Pride Park last season. (picture: Getty Images / Michael Regan)
Derby got the better of Forest at Pride Park last season. (picture: Getty Images / Michael Regan)

The Rams did get the better of the Reds when the sides last met at Pride Park as they came out 3-0 winners last December. Goals from Tom Ince, Will Hughes and an own goal from Nicklas Bendtner was enough to secure a comfortable victory for the home side. 

Team news 

One blow for Derby boss Rowett ahead of this game is that he will be without influential midfielder Bradley Johnson who will be serving out a suspension. However, he does not have any fresh injury concerns to contend with and therefore has a host of options to choose from, especially in the final third. 

As for Forest, Warburton has been boosted by the return of Jamie Ward, David Vaughan and Matty Cash as they all return from injury. Out of the three, it is Ward who looks most likely to be involved in the starting line-up following Warburton's comments in mid-week.