Paul Higham is expecting plenty of action but perhaps not so many goals in what is a huge East Midlands derby at the City Ground with pride and play-off places at stake.
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Nottingham Forest v Derby (1945 GMT – Sky Sports Football)
Just the one game on Monday night but it’s a cracker of a local derby with Nottingham Forest hosting arch enemies Derby County at the City Ground.
It’s more than just the Brian Clough Trophy up for grabs as these teams from either end of the A52 converge in Nottingham, and with Forest four points behind Derby they’re able to close right up behind their rivals in the chase for the play-offs.
Frank Lampard’s side were booed off against Millwall after a woeful 1-0 defeat and their form has been patchy to say the least, with their FA Cup run upsetting their Sky Bet Championship form.
Returning heroes Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane haven’t exactly set the world alight having won eight points from six games, but they’ve won back-to-back matches at home and two successive away draws were solid enough.
Forest fans have been packing out the City Ground since O’Neill returned though and they’ll have the atmosphere cranked up to another level again for this huge showdown, especially with the hunt for play-off places intensifying as we enter crunch time in the season.
There’s not usually a lot of goals in these contests though, with the last two ending goalless and five of the last six at the City Ground containing under 2.5 goals, and preference is again for something similar here.
Perhaps the deciding factor, especially in high-energy games such as this, could be that Forest have had nine days to prepare for this, while Derby had to play during the week when they suffered that poor defeat to Millwall – Lampard will call for a response but whether there’s enough in the legs to get it is another story.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Derby (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
Forest haven’t won in their last six against Derby but O’Neill will have them fired up and with the buoyant home crowd behind them it’s time for that run to end against their near rivals. Prediction is for a high-octane, all-action affair but with more bookings than clear-cut chances and the odd goal winning it.
Best bet: Nottingham Forest to win at 6/4
It’s not the sexiest bet you’ll find for this game but sometimes it pays to keep it simple and, although so much can happen in these big derby games, there’s a distinct difference in mood between improving Forest and the slumping Rams. That extra time Forest have had to prepare could make all the difference.
Stats: Over 70+ booking points at 2/1
There’s been a sending off in five of the last seven league meetings between the two so there’ll be plenty of appeal in the 3/1 for a red card in this one, but preference is for the booking points here as referee Robert Jones has branded just two reds in 23 games this season. These two teams are in the top five for booking points this season so referee Jones’ yellow card should see plenty of action.
SPORTING LIFE PRICE BOOST
Our tip of Forest 1-0 Derby has been Price Boosted by Sky Bet to 9/1
Nottingham Forest v Derby Opta stats
- Nottingham Forest are winless in six league matches against Derby (D3 L3); they last had a longer run between 1904 and 1914 (eight matches).
- The last two Championship encounters between Nottingham Forest and Derby have ended goalless.
- Martin O’Neill’s last league meetings with Derby County came during the 2007-08 season when he was Aston Villa manager, winning 2-0 and 6-0.
- Derby haven’t drawn three consecutive away league matches since March 2018, when the third game in that run was a goalless draw against Nottingham Forest.
- Nottingham Forest haven’t won three consecutive home league matches since a run of four in November 2017.
- There has been a red card shown in five of the last seven Championship meetings between Nottingham Forest and Derby at the City Ground (one to Forest, four to Derby).
Odds correct as of 1002 GMT on 25/02/19