Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has suggested that Derby County and Nottingham Forest will have to share the spoils on Saturday in a repeat of last season’s clash between the two sides
Derby head into the game having made a more promising start to the campaign than a lot of people were perhaps predicting at the start of the month.
Wayne Rooney has been able to add some important free-agent signings to his small squad and that has helped the Rams be competitive in their matches.
A return of five points from their opening four matches gives them something to build on and they could really start to have momentum if they beat Nottingham Forest.
The Rams have picked up four points from their last two Championship games with them having followed up their win at Hull City with a goalless draw against Middlesbrough last weekend.
They will be aiming to build on that and recover from their 2-1 loss at Sheffield United in the League Cup in midweek
Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, head into the game as the only side in the division yet to secure a single point in the Championship this season.
The pressure is starting to build on Chris Hughton after defeats against Coventry City, Bournemouth, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.
However, the Reds only lost all of those games by a one-goal margin and that suggests that they are not getting blown away by their opponents.
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Making his latest round of predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton suggested that Forest will be desperate to avoid defeat here given their poor start to the season and he believes they will manage to pick up a point in a 1-1 draw.
He wrote: “Now this will be a game and a half. When most Championship observers looked ahead to this fixture at the start of the season, I doubt too many would have tipped Derby to be on five points and Nottingham Forest to be on none at this stage. Yet here we are.
“Wayne Rooney has done brilliantly to get the Rams to where they are at this point when you consider what they are operating with. For Forest and Chris Hughton, it has just been a disastrous start. He needs a win more than anything, but will still be desperate not to get beaten, and I reckon they will pick up a first point of the season.”
This is one of the biggest meetings between these two sides at the start of a season for a long time, with both sides needing to secure the morale boost of all three points and local bragging rights for different reasons.
It has hard to think of any recent Nottingham Forest manager that has needed a win in their derby clash with the Rams more than Hughton does right now. A victory would give him some extra time and a little more favour with supporters in a relationship that is slowly starting to turn sour.
However, it is difficult to see Hughton being able to survive if the Reds were to suffer another defeat away from home against their bitter rivals.
Derby know that they need to keep plugging away and picking up results if they are going to be able to survive the drop this season. Rooney will be hoping that his players can take advantage of Forest’s low confidence and edge them out here.