Derby and Nottingham Forest meet at Pride Park on Friday night for the East Midlands derby and Mark O'Haire is anticipating a tight Championship encounter...
"Nine of the past 11 East Midlands derbies have featured Under 2.5 Goals 1.558/15 – the most recent six league meetings have produced a total of only six goals"
Derby v Nottingham Forest
Friday February 26, 19:45
Derby deliver another home success
Derby recorded a fourth consecutive home win when eased to a 2-0 triumph over Huddersfield at Pride Park on Tuesday night. George Edmundson, on loan from Rangers, headed the Rams in front in the first half - his first goal in a Rams shirt - before substitute Martyn Waghorn doubled County's lead after 67 minutes with a fine finish.
Colin Kazim-Richards had a number of chances to get on the scoresheet either side of half-time, but the result continues Derby's improved form under Wayne Rooney's stewardship and eases immediate concerns over Championship relegation. The Rams have now taken top honours in six of their past eight games to move eight points clear of the bottom-three.
Rooney made two half-time changes and admitted, "I felt I had to make a change to help us get a bit more on the front foot and be more of a threat going forward. I said to the players, 'tactically I got it wrong'. I've no shame in saying that and I had to change it so first half I take full responsibility for the performance because it wasn't good enough."
Forest earn hard-earned victory
Nottingham Forest continued their upwardly-mobile form under Christ Hughton by clinching back-to-back Championship victories in midweek. The Tricky Trees triumphed 1-0 at Rotherham on Tuesday thanks to Ryan Yates' second half goal. But the Reds were forced to battle, and rode their luck at times at the New York Stadium en-route to maximum points.
The visitors were almost ahead just before the break from Anthony Knockaert's impressive free-kick but Millers keeper Viktor Johansson did well to save. Forest then took the lead midway through the second half when Tobias Figueiredo teed up Yates to fire in from close range. The hosts did miss a presentable opportunity late on to level proceedings.
Nevertheless, the result lifts the Reds to 16th in the table and 10 points clear of the relegation zone as they sealed a fourth win from their past six games. Hughton said, "It was a tough game. We had to defend in numbers. It was quite difficult to get a real good rhythm in the game. Sometimes these kind of wins can be the most pleasing ones."
Nottm Forest have suffered a solitary reverse in the last nine East Midlands derby dates with Derby (W3-D5-L1), silencing the Rams in five of their most recent seven meetings. However, Tricky Trees have managed a solitary success in nine trips to their bitter rivals at Pride Park (W1-D3-L5) since 2012, failing to even score in four of their most recent five here.
Derby 2.568/5 have been in flying form since mid-December. Wayne Rooney has taken a back-to-basics approach as he bids to drive the Rams out of relegation trouble and County's players have certainly responded. The hosts boast eight wins in their last 13, losing on just five occasions in their most recent 18 (W9-D4-L5) to move clear of the bottom-three.
Nottingham Forest 3.1085/40 have endured only two losses in 14 Championship contests since mid-December (W7-D5-L2) as Chris Hughton guides the Tricky Trees to safer waters. Like their hosts, the Reds' most positive performances have come when taking on sides outside the upper echelon of the division, posting W10-D5-L3 against teams outside the top-10.
Nine of the past 11 East Midlands derbies have featured Under 2.5 Goals 1.558/15 - the most recent six league meetings have produced a total of only six goals - and a low-scoring repeat could be on the cards again on Friday night considering the data produced from both camps across their respective 2020/21 Championship campaigns.
The duo have combined to see an average of only 1.81 goals per-game with 25% of their collective league fixtures featuring fewer than three goals, whilst just four of their second-tier fixtures have produced four goals or more. With that in mind, I'm happy to support two selections in the Same Game Multi that both oppose goals at Pride Park.
There's 1.9010/11 available on Under 2.5 Goals and ticking 'No' in the Goal In Both Halves option from the Sportsbook, an appealing option considering the tightly-contested affair this contest tends to be.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 108.00 pts
Returned: 117.33 pts
P/L: +9.33 pts