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Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Derby County

Sports Mole brings the lowdown ahead of Friday night's East Midlands derby in the Championship between Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

The much-anticipated East Midlands derby between Nottingham Forest and Derby County should be a fiery contest as the bitter rivals clash in a Fridaymnight contest this weekend.

The two teams are travelling in different directions in the Championship, with Forest desperately in need of a win, while Derby have rocketed into the top six of late.


Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman during the Sky Bet Championship match against Brighton & Hove Albion on February 7, 2015© Getty Images

A heavy defeat to their bitter rivals tomorrow night could spell the end for Dougie Freedman, who has admitted this week that he does not always see eye to eye with club owner Fawaz Al Hasawi.

Forest are without a win in eight matches, losing five and scoring just four in that time to drop to 19th in the table, four points above the bottom three.

They come into this match on a two-game losing streak and failed to find the net in either 1-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End in the last week.

A win against their arch-rivals would do Forest and Freedman the world of good, but if it goes wrong tomorrow night the Scot could be on his way and former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson has been linked with the job should Freedman be fired.

Forest's last two wins were both away from home in September and they have not won at the City Ground since they beat lowly Rotherham United in their first home match of the season back on August 15, drawing three and losing three in front of their own fans since then.

If they fail to win tomorrow night, it will be their worst home run since January 2012.

Recent form: LLDDLL


Derby County manager Paul Clement looks on during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Northampton Town and Derby County at Sixfields Stadium on July 18, 2015© Getty Images

While Forest are toiling at the wrong end of the table, the Rams are just a point off the top thanks to a 10-game unbeaten run.

They started the season with four wins and a defeat as Paul Clement adapted slowly in his first managerial job, but 26 points out of a possible 30 since have got the pre-season promotion favourites right back in the mix.

Forest lost both of their matches without scoring this week, but it was the opposite for Derby as they claimed maximum points in two home games against Rotherham United (3-0) and Queens Park Rangers (1-0) without conceding.

Good at home, then, but Derby are actually on a 10-game unbeaten run away from home in the league. If they avoid defeat tomorrow night it will be their longest unbeaten away run since February 1986, when they went 13 without defeat on the road.

One thing Derby have done particularly well this season is not starting slowly - they are yet to concede a goal in the opening 15 minutes of a Championship match this term.

Recent form: WWDWWW

Team News

Craig Forsyth for Derby County on December 30, 2014© Getty Images

A third win in a row for Derby on Tuesday night, but it came at a price as left-back Craig Forsyth was stretchered off with a cruciate knee ligament injury that is expected to keep him out for the rest of the season.

Stephen Warnock took the Scotland international's place midway through the first half and should now enjoy a run in the team with Forsyth out.

Apart from Forsyth, Clement could name the same lineup and Andreas Weimann is likely to keep his place, even though Tom Ince is available again, having ended his Derby duck against Rotherham and then scoring the winner against QPR.

Derby also have George Thorne available again after he served a one-match ban, while Forest are able to welcome back two players from suspension.

Henri Lansbury has missed the last three matches after his straight red card against Burnley, while fellow midfielder David Vaughan is back after serving a one-game ban.

Michael Mancienne (knee) and Robert Tesche (foot) remain out for the home side.

Forest possible starting lineup:
De Vries; Lichaj, Mills, Hobbs, Pinillos; Ward, Trotter, Lansbury, Vaughan, Mendes; Oliveira

Derby possible starting lineup:
Carson; Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Warnock; Hendrick, Johnson, Butterfield; Weimann, Martin, Russell

Head To Head

Four of the five goals scored in last season's two league meetings came after the 70-minute mark, and one of those was Ben Osborn's injury-time winner that gave Forest the bragging rights in the last clash at the iPro Stadium in January.

In derbies at the City Ground, there has been a red card in each of the last four meetings - three for Derby, one for Forest.

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We say: Forest 1-3 Derby

The form book would suggest a Derby win to-nil, but Forest have found the back of the net in 19 of their last 20 home league clashes against their rivals. Still, Derby should have far too much and this could well be Freedman's last match in charge.

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Who will come out on top, Forest or Derby?

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson on May 9, 2015
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