First showdown of the season looming between old rivals

Forest fans prepare for the trip down the A52 for the big local derby at the iPro Stadium.

Forest fans prepare for the trip down the A52 for the big local derby at the iPro Stadium.

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Bitter rivals Derby County and Nottingham Forest clash for the first time this season at the iPro Stadium on Sunday, 11th December as Steve McClaren looks to continue his excellent record since returning as Rams’ manager.

In recent years Derby and Forest fans have shared the bragging rights from the big East Midlands derby games.

Since 2014 both sides have won twice against each other, along with a draw.

Derby won the last meeting between the sides in March, Marcus Olsson’s only goal for the club enough to see off Forest in a tight affair.

Overall the record between the two teams has been very close with 36 wins for Derby, 39 wins for Forest and 23 draws which suggests the two teams have been evenly matched throughout their history.

Steve McClaren, who also had an ill-fated spell as Forest boss in 2011, has turned Derby’s season around after being reappointed as manager.

The Rams have won five of his seven games in charge and are yet to concede a goal at home under his guidance.

After being sacked in 2015 due to a bad run of form that saw the Rams drop out of the play-off places, a lot of Derby fans were surprised when McClaren made a return in October.

So this latest clash with Forest will be a perfect chance for McClaren to win over the Derby fans who still have lingering doubts over him coming back to manage the club.

As if McClaren needed more of an incentive to record a victory against their bitter rivals, Derby are currently only three points from the play-off places.

The former England boss has fired the Rams up the table and will no doubt be looking to keep rising and ultimately mount a promotion challenge this season.

If Derby are to defeat Forest then they will have to keep Reds’ star man Henri Lansbury quiet.

Lansbury is a product of the Arsenal youth system but never really broke through into the first team, only making three appearances.

The midfielder last week netted a hat-trick against Barnsley, so Derby will have to be aware of the goal threat he offers from midfield.

The A52 derby games are the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures on the calendar for both sets of fans and any unable to attend the match can watch it live on Sky Sports (noon kick-off).