Nottingham Forest take on Derby County tomorrow afternoon in what promises to be a massive game in the race for promotion.
Two bitter rivals face each other at Pride Park, with both sides gunning for a top-six finish after two very different seasons so far.
Forest have been fighting it out in the upper echelons of the Championship table for the majority of the season, and Sabri Lamouchi’s side have hit the ground running since the season’s restart.
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Wins over Huddersfield Town and Bristol City have seen them climb to fourth in the league standings, with a top-six finish looking increasingly likely for Forest as each passing week goes by.
Forest have already done the double over their arch rivals this season; they won 3-0 in the second round of the Carabao Cup way back in August, and defeated the Rams by a goal to nil in the league in November.
Since the turn of the year, though, Phillip Cocu’s side have made a huge climb up the table, and have made huge strides of improvement since Lewis Grabban scored the game’s only goal over seven months ago.
Derby have since climbed to seventh after winning their last five games on the bounce, and sit only one point off sixth.
Lamouchi is likely to make changes to the side that beat Bristol City due to a hectic run-in fast approaching, so here’s how we expect Forest to line-up against Derby tomorrow…
It was certainly a battle against Bristol City on Wednesday night, with the likes of Ryan Yates and Matty Cash left walking wounded after collisions with the opposition.
This weekend presents Lamouchi with an opportunity to field his strongest team on paper, though, with no known fresh injury worries heading into tomorrow’s clash.
Forest’s strongest team on paper is undoubtedly shown in our graphic above, with the usual back-line of Matty Cash, Joe Worrall, Tobias Figueiredo and Yuri Ribeiro sitting in front of Brice Samba.
Ben Watson should anchor the midfield after reclaiming his place in the team against City following an ankle injury, and should play alongside Tiago Silva and Samba Sow in midfield.
Silva scored a delicious free-kick against the Robins, whilst Sow came on as a substitute after recovering from injury.
In attack, it should be the three usual suspects of Joe Lolley, Lewis Grabban and Sammy Ameobi leading the way, but Nuno da Costa made a real impression when coming off the bench in midweek.