While the Rams sit one point adrift of the playoffs, Forest hold a seven-point advantage over their next opponents in the standings.
Before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to games around Europe, Derby had recorded convincing wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, results which would have undoubtedly impressed Philip Cocu.
However, the Dutchman will have taken more pride from his team securing three victories over Millwall, Reading and Preston North End by smaller margins at an important period of their campaign.
The victory over the latter, courtesy of a sublime Wayne Rooney free kick, has moved the Rams to within one point of Cardiff City, another team who have improved either side of lockdown.
Cocu will reiterate to his players that they can only focus on their own business, hoping that the Bluebirds do not continue with their five-match unbeaten streak.
Nevertheless, if Derby can somehow prevail in their next half-a-dozen outings, taking their winning streak to 11 matches, the teams further up the standings will begin to worry about their long-standing positions in the top six.
One of the clubs in question is Derby's East Midlands rivals Forest, who have required a seven-point haul from three matches just to keep hold of fourth spot.
Victories over Huddersfield Town and Bristol City have come at a time when Sabri Lamouchi has been provided with a new contract at the City Ground, something which the majority of supporters will feel is fully deserved.
However, defeat at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon would leave Forest holding just a four-point lead over their biggest foes, as well as providing Cardiff with the opportunity to close the gap.
With one more setback likely leaving automatic promotion out of the equation, it puts Lamouchi and his players under pressure to at least avoid defeat at the weekend if they want to maintain some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack.
Derby County Championship form: LWWWWW
Nottingham Forest Championship form: WDLDWW
Derby will continue to be without Andre Wisdom, who is continuing his recovery after being stabbed in Liverpool last weekend.
Nuno da Costa is in line for his first start in a Forest shirt if the latter does not shake off his injury concern.
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Hamer; Lowe, Evans, Clarke, Forsyth; Rooney, Bird; Holmes, Sibley, Knight; Waghorn
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Cash, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Yates, Watson; Lolley, Silva, Ameobi; Grabban
We say: Derby County 2-1 Nottingham Forest
All things considered, this is an extremely difficult match to call. However, despite Forest's recent improvement, we cannot back against Derby at this time, who we feel will be able to battle their way to a narrow win.