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Preview: Derby County vs. Nottingham Forest - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Championship clash between Derby County and Nottingham Forest, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Derby County and Nottingham Forest meet in the East Midlands derby on Friday night with both clubs looking to move into the mid-table positions of the Championship standings.

Both clubs have won four of their last six fixtures, a considerable improvement after spending much of the campaign occupying places in and around the relegation zone.

Match preview

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney pictured on February 13, 2021© Reuters

At the turn of the year, Wayne Rooney and Chris Hughton would have felt justified in believing that their respective clubs would still be in a battle to avoid the drop come their next meeting.

While Derby and Forest will still have concerns about an unforeseen period in League One, they now have every reason to believe that they should still be aiming high during the final months of the current campaign.

Forest sit 10 points clear of the bottom three, two points ahead of their next opponents, but there are also just 10 points separating the Reds and the playoffs.

With just 14 matches remaining, achieving a top-six spot is realistically out of the question, although that will not stop Hughton and his squad wanting to maintain their recent form.

Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton pictured in December 2020© Reuters

As well as 13 points coming from their most recent six fixtures, collecting 26 points from 14 matches has gone somewhat under the radar, partly due to the presence of Rooney at Pride Park.

On the back of Derby's 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town in midweek, it has been well documented that the England legend has guided the Rams to 31 points from 18 games.

With Rotherham United still possessing a game in hand, Rooney will be wary of getting drawn into discussions regarding the future progression of his squad.

Nevertheless, both managers should be receiving plaudits in equal measure as they look to build some momentum ahead of a promotion bid next season.

While Forest have conceded just two goals in seven league matches, Derby ended a four-match wait for a clean sheet with the shutout against Huddersfield.

Derby County Championship form: WLWWLW

Nottingham Forest Championship form: WWDLWW

Team News

Nottingham Forest's Ryan Yates celebrates after scoring their first goal against Rotherham in the Championship on February 23, 2021© Reuters

The short turnaround is likely to lead to Hughton making a number of changes to his Forest XI.

Yuri Ribeiro, James Garner and Alex Mighten will all expect to feature after dropping down to the substitutes' bench for the game with Rotherham United in midweek.

Having been versatile with his tactics in recent matches, Rooney may revert back to a 4-2-3-1 formation for this contest.

That could see Kamil Jozwiak and Martyn Waghorn return to the team in place of George Edmundson and Lee Gregory.

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Byrne, Wisdom, Clarke, Buchanan; Bird, Shinnie; Waghorn, Knight, Jozwiak; Kazim-Richards

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Garner, Cafu; Knockaert, Krovinovic, Mighten; Murray

SM words green background

We say: Derby County 1-1 Nottingham Forest

With sustained improvement on the line as well as pride, we expect a highly-competitive fixture between two teams on the up. However, both managers would take avoiding defeat at this stage of the campaign, and a low-scoring draw is the most likely result.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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