Nottingham Forest come up against arch-rivals Derby County at the Pride Park Stadium on Monday knowing that a win would be enough to take them ahead of their neighbours in the Championship standings, but it certainly won’t be an easy task to get the three points.
Frank Lampard’s men have taken 20 points from a possible 30 on their own patch so far this term, while the visitors have only won three of their 10 fixtures on the road, and manager Aitor Karanka will be thinking hard about his team selection and tactics ahead of the short trip.
The majority of the Forest side picks itself right now despite their five-match unbeaten run coming to and following the 1-0 defeat to Preston North End at the City Ground last weekend, but one position where Karanka does have a decision to make is in the middle of the park.
The Spaniard has tended to choose between Adlene Guedioura, Jack Colback, Claudio Yacob and Ben Watson this term, and it was Colback and Yacob who got the nod against Alex Neil’s men last time out.
The Reds only signed free-agent Yacob in September, but he has already made a positive impression in five Championship appearances.
The 5ft 11in Argentine star has been known throughout his career in England for being a bit of a yellow card machine, and that certainly hasn’t changed during the early stages of his time with Forest.
He has already picked up three bookings in four starts for the Championship promotion hopefuls, while according to WhoScored he has committed an average of 2.2 fouls per game, which is higher than any of his teammates – in fewer outings.
Meanwhile, Rams winger Harry Wilson has shown his set-piece ability this season with some stunning free-kicks, and Karanka’s men can’t afford to be giving away cheap fouls in and around the penalty area that the Liverpool loanee could easily take advantage of.