Derby collect second successive clean sheet
Wayne Rooney called on his Derby players to be more clinical and to believe in themselves following last weekend's goalless draw against Middlesbrough at Pride Park. The stalemate means the Rams occupy a mid-table position in the Championship after four rounds of matches, with just one defeat (W1-D2-L1) despite their well-publicised off-field problems.
Speaking post-match, Rooney said: "I think it was a fair result. First half I thought we were very good and made it very difficult for them to get any pressure on us. We are starting to create more chances. We have to take them. Maybe last season we would have lost that game. I was pleased with that and another clean sheet."
Captain Tom Lawrence remains a doubt for County although Rooney remains hopeful the forward will be available with striker Colin Kazim-Richards a long-term absentee. Recent arrival Sam Baldock is again expected to lead the line for Derby with ageing centre-halves Phil Jagielka and Curtis Davis covered by tenacious midfielder Graeme Shinnie.
Hughton under-fire at Forest
A fourth successive league defeat to start the new season has piled the pressure on under-fire Nottingham Forest boss Chris Hughton. The Reds were beaten 1-0 at Stoke last Saturday as their dismal start to the season continued, leaving the Tricky Trees rock-bottom of the Championship table, without a point.
A much-changed Forest line-up failed to register a single effort on-target, and mustered just two shots during the entirety of the Stoke showdown. And the Reds were punished at the other end when they dropped off, allowing the Potters to move the ball around before Josh Tymon fired across Brice Samba and into the back of the net for the only goal of the game.
Post-match, Hughton said: "Unless we are breaking the deadlock ourselves, we are always putting ourselves under pressure. They capitalised and at the moment we haven't been good enough to take that type of lead without the mistakes." The Forest manager will be without Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu, as well as Joe Worrall and Joe Lolley on Saturday.
Nottm Forest have suffered a solitary reverse in the last 10 East Midlands derby dates with Derby (W3-D6-L1), silencing the Rams in five of their most recent eight meetings. However, the Tricky Trees have managed a solitary success in 10 trips to their bitter rivals at Pride Park (W1-D4-L5) since 2012, failing to even score in four of their most recent six here.
Derby 2.6813/8 deserve credit for grinding out a five-point return from their opening four fixtures with Wayne Rooney's well-organised outfit proving a tough nut to crack. The Rams have been aided by a relatively soft schedule but have returned back-to-back clean sheets and restricted to their opponents to just 1.20 non-penalty Expected Goals per-game (npxG).
Nottingham Forest 3.052/1 have endured a miserable start to the season. The Reds rank 23rd for Expected Points (xP), and their attacking output has been almost non-existent with the Tricky Trees in the bottom-four for shots attempts, on-target efforts, shots inside the box, Expected Goals (xG), npxG, xG from open play, as well as touches in the opposition box.
Ten of the past 12 East Midlands derbies have featured Under 2.5 Goals 1.454/9 - the most recent seven league meetings have produced a total of only eight goals - and a low-scoring repeat could be on the cards again on Saturday afternoon considering the data produced from both camps across their opening 2021/22 encounters.
With that in mind, it may pay to support Under 2.5 Goals alongside the Draw at 3.259/4 via the Sportsbook, an appealing option considering the tightly-contested affair this contest tends to be. This wager paid out in both of last season's match-ups, as well five of the most recent eight head-to-heads in the Championship.