Championship: Derby deserve to be Forest favourites
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 5, 2015
Nottingham Forest v Derby County
- Friday, November 6th
- Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
- City Ground, Nottingham
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Tricky Trees in sticky patch
Nottingham Forest are on an eight-match winless run. Not exactly ideal preparation for Derby day, as they contest the Brian Clough trophy, local bragging rights and Championship points against their bitter East Midlands rivals.
Coral don’t think Dougie Freedman will get any joy, despite his team being at home, rating a Reds victory as likely as a draw at 23/10. Derby County, meanwhile, are 21/20 favourites because they are unbeaten on the road and have accrued twice as many points as Forest.
Recent fixtures between the Tricky Trees and Rams have thrown up all sorts; late winners, cagey draws, thrashings and red cards – all of which make this East Midlands derby the most compelling of clashes.
Clement to establish Pride Park dynasty?
In what Forest fans will deride as a blatant act of self-promotion, County chairman Mel Morris has been singing the praises of head coach Paul Clement, hoping his maiden managerial role will become a long stint like Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
“Paul has an opportunity to help shape how we run this club,” Morris said. “If you look at what we are trying to build at Derby, I think Alex Ferguson defined the culture and the philosophy at Manchester United because he had that long-term tenure.
“I am not sure of the background and how much of that came from the club, but he became the way the club operated. In a similar way, here Paul has an opportunity to help shape how we run this club and I would like that, providing he has a strong enough hand in doing that with us, that he will help build something he would want to stay with. And at the age Paul is at, then why not?”
Former forwards could be key
While Forest have failed to find the net in their last two, if there’s one player in their ranks who should be motivated for this match, then it’s Northern Ireland winger Jamie Ward. Released by the Rams this past summer, he scored twice for them in this fixture, so could come back to haunt them.
Ward’s anytime odds of 10/3 are tasty and this would be the perfect time for him to break his Reds duck. Winger Chris Burke has been under-used by Freedman, but has a more than respectable three in nine against Derby throughout his career and is 5/1 in the same market.
Tom Ince should be fit to return, and Forest fans will recall how disappointing he was during a loan spell last season. Now a County player for keeps, his return of 14 goals in 31 games is an incredible return for a wide player, and make his anytime odds of 2/1 terrific.
Weimann, Martin, Johnson add touch of class
Austrian attacker Andreas Weimann has netted first in his last two outings for the Rams, and is a 7/1 shot to grab the opener for a third successive game. Scotland striker Chris Martin, meanwhile, is Derby’s leading marksman with eight, and features in a fantastic enhanced 4/1 matchday special wincast (max stake £20).
Box-to-box midfielder Bradley Johnson is also worth an anytime punt at 11/4, while winger Jonny Ruusell is shorter in that market at 15/8, but there are much more goal threats in County than their opponents.
That means Derby to win and both teams to score at 10/3 should appeal with Forest’s downturn in form set to continue against Clement’s classy Rams.