Derby County and Nottingham Forest face off in what’s always a competitive fixture, given local pride, but this ought to be an extra entertaining edition of the Brian Clough Trophy with both sides in good form and plenty to play for. The visitors are pushing to join Forest in the play-offs, while the hosts still need to confirm their place and can still harbour faint hopes of a top-two finish.
The local rivals are two of the Championship’s form sides; Derby are one of only two sides in the division to have won all three matches since the suspension, maintaining their excellent pre-lockdown form, and taking more points than any other side since Wayne Rooney joined at the turn of the year.
The veteran England striker proved the difference in midweek with an excellent free-kick against Preston, which the Rams saw out 1-0. Rooney is favourite to open the scoring here again at 6/4 and 9/2 to score anytime, while breakthrough teenage star Louie Sibley is 8/1 to open the scoring, having scored four goals in his first four Championship starts.
Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, were disappointed to only draw 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday on their return from the hiatus, dropping two points after Connor Wickham’s injury-time equaliser, but they’ve recovered admirably, cruising past Huddersfield with a 3-1 win last week before a professional, if occasionally nervy and narrow, 1-0 win over Bristol City in midweek.
We recommend backing the hosts to win here, coming into this fixture of three-straight post-lockdown wins and a sustained run of strong form. They’re 11/8 to get a victory on home soil, which you can lengthen by adding both teams to score (4/1) - worth considering given Cocu’s Rams only have two clean sheets from their last 12 outings in all competitions.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change