Nottingham Forest vs Derby County Prediction: Expect drama in this feisty encounter
Saturday’s feast of football starts with an East Midlands showdown at the City Ground, live on Sky, kick off 12:30.
Interestingly, this fixture has yielded the same result via the exact same scoreline in these sides' last four clashes, all finishing 1-1. With recent history revealing that little, if anything, can split these sides, it is strange to see that the bookies favour the hosts here by some margin. Forest are around 19/20, giving them an implied chance of 51% yet Derby look the value at 10/3 as they have won 27% of their games when priced accordingly.
In terms of team news, with no fresh injury concerns, Steve Cooper could field the same side that snatched three points at the Den. This would see Lewis Grabban continue to operate behind a front two of Brennan Johnson and Keinan Davis. Philip Zinckernagel could come in but that would be harsh on Grabban who has netted twice in his last two appearances. As for the visitors, Colin Kazim-Richards will likely replace Luke Plange in attack.
Over the last six games, only Middlesbrough (16) have won more points than Derby’s 13. During that period, Rooney’s side have beaten Blackpool, West Brom, Stoke and Sheffield United and rescued a point from 2-0 down with five minutes to play at the Madejski Stadium.
The Rams have only lost seven games all season, which is the fourth-joint fewest of any side in the division. Fulham (4), Bournemouth (5), Blackburn (6) and West Brom (6) are the only sides to lose fewer.
This bet has landed in 73% of their games, yet the implied probability of Bet365’s odds is 53%. Even then, only one of those seven defeats was by a goal margin greater than one which I think perfectly encapsulates DCFC’s siege mentality and never say die attitude.
Given the situation off the field, in relation to the lack of players and the points deduction, even the biggest Derby fanatic with the strongest rose tinted glasses could not have honestly believed that they stood a chance of survival. However, with their latest victory lifting them off the foot of the table, their fans have genuine belief and the majority of the credit has to go to the supremo.
Rooney has galvanised a depleted squad, turning a desperate situation into one with a glimmer of hope. With his hands tied behind his back, he has managed to concoct a squad with real guile, character, grit and quality and these are all characteristics a team needs if they are going to edge a derby.
It is worth pointing out that Forest have only taken one point less than Derby over the last six league games. They come into the fixture having bested Arsenal in the cup and snatched the points from the Den in the last minute, so confidence will not be lacking. However, in a sport of fine margins, there is rarely much between two rivals which is why I found the gulf in price odd, even with Forest's home advantage. Therefore, I am also having a punt on Derby to win.
If you fancy something a bit longer you can combine a Tom Lawrence goal with the same player to be carded.
Lawrence will be brimming with confidence as he netted an outstanding brace in the Rams last fixtures vs SUFC. For his first, he jinxed in from the left hand side, taking on three players before slotting past the despairing Wes Foderingham. His second was equally impressive for different reasons, he whipped it onto a postage-stamp from the angle.
Those strikes put Lawrence onto seven league goals for the season and whilst he is more than capable of finding the net, he is also well acquainted with the division's whistleblowers. Lawrence is not only the Rams top goalscorer, but their joint-most booked player.
Tim Robertson is in charge, which certainly bodes well for cards as he has averaged 4.28Y and 0.17R per game in the Championship this campaign.
The long-shot sets us up perfectly for a clean sweep as well. We just need the game to be perfectly poised as we head into injury time, then, in the dying seconds Lawrence bags the winner. Lost in a wave of adrenalin and ecstasy he hurls himself into the section of travelling fans forcing Robertson to brandish the yellow. Easy as that.
Best of luck if you are following these selections and please remember to gamble responsibly.
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