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Pearce fighting for his life as out of form Forest face Derby day

Nottingham Forest are stuck in a rut. Four straight defeats in all competitions, with one victory in nine, so the sword of Damocles is hanging over Reds boss and City Ground icon Stuart Pearce.

‘Psycho’ fears the sack and, at odds of 4/1 for his side to record victory over bitter rivals Derby County at Pride Park, it’s easy to see why he reportedly feels on borrowed time. Last time Forest were the away side in this East Midlands derby, Steve McClaren’s men put five past them.

The Rams, who occupy an automatic promotion place in the Championship, have won four of last six at home to nil, and are odds-on 8/11 favourites to beat their local rivals once more. A repeat of that derby day demolition, meanwhile, is an 80/1 chance. Draws do not happen often in this fixture, which explains a relatively remote price of 11/4 on the spoils being shared.

Goals are Forest’s biggest problem with just two in the last six, yet leading marksman Britt Assombalonga grabbed the opener in the reverse fixture. Back the DR Congo-born frontman to end the Reds’ barren spell by scoring anytime at 15/8.

For Derby, McClaren must decide whether to keep the prolific Chris Martin in his XI or bring on-loan Darren Bent in. Scotland striker Martin has four in his last five, and is even-money in the anytime market, or better at 21/10 in a wincast. Bent, meanwhile, is better value at 5/4.

County’s supporting cast Craig Bryson (10/3), Jeff Hendrick (5/1), Johnny Russell and Jamie Ward (both 7/4) have all delivered on derby day against Forest before, so are worth considering as scorers.

With options aplenty at McClaren’s disposal, the signing of Spanish defender Raul Albentosa from La Liga minnows Eibar would be a bonus. Richard Keogh has marshalled the Derby defence superbly this term and, based on impressive home clean sheet record, a win to nil at 19/10 enhances their odds-on price for victory nicely.