Nottingham Forest legend Kenny Burns has written in his Nottingham Post column that the club have one key advantage over Derby County ahead of their East Midlands derby next week.
Burns, who played for the club between 1977 and 1981, won the European Cup twice at the club, as well as the First Division league title, the European Super Cup and two League Cups.
Forest face their arch-rivals on Monday, in what will be Martin O’Neill’s first derby as manager.
The clubs are currently seventh and eighth in the Championship, respectively, but Derby have two games in hand on Forest.
As a result, County face Millwall at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday night, while Forest will not be in action this week.
And Burns believes that O’Neill’s men subsequently have the advantage over their bitter rivals, writing in the Nottingham Post: “It’s all about what Forest do on Monday; forget about them. There will be 11 battles going on all over the pitch, and how many we win will make the difference.
“Derby got hammered by Brighton in the FA Cup at the weekend, and they’ve got a game on Tuesday night, whereas we should be well rested after a week without playing.”
Indeed, Burns believes that Derby do not have the bottle to gain promotion and thinks Forest can win on Monday.
He added: “Overall, you have to say Frank Lampard has done well there,” he added. “But they will still choke when it comes to trying to get promotion. How many times have they been there or thereabouts and not gone up?
“Forest have got a good chance to put a dent in Derby’s chances of finishing in the top six – as well as help their own – if they can get the win.
“Derby have got some good players, like Harry Wilson, Mason Mount, Tom Lawrence… but they haven’t got a clue how to use them.
“We can beat them, no question about that, but we’ll have to wait and see how we do on the day.”
Forest have not lost in their last three outings but they have drawn two of those, against West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End.
The latter was a dour goalless game, while Derby lost to Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup, drew with Ipswich Town and beat Hull City in their previous three games.
The pair, then, have not exactly been setting the world alight in the Championship and this is a key fixture as each team looks to climb the table.
Derby can build up some momentum by beating Millwall in midweek but Burns is right to claim that they may be tired when the one that the locals have all been waiting for comes around.
Form, it is said, goes out the window in these games and, often, so does fatigue, but both have been rudderless recently – this clash offers the perfect opportunity to get back on track.