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Lose to Derby and Dougie Freedman will be on the brink

05 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Lose to Derby and Dougie Freedman will be on the brink

Eight matches without a win and facing the Championship’s form team - things are looking bleak for the Nottingham Forest boss

Nottingham Forest v Derby County. The East Midlands derby.

One of the fiercest clashes in English football, even if the stars of these once-conquering clubs have waned badly over the years.

This weekend marks the 97th meeting of the two rivals and, while only 28 miles separate them on a map, the distance feels much greater when looking at the Championship table.

Sixteen points is the gap and it looks likely to be even bigger come the end of the Friday evening: Forest are 5/2 to win, Derby 11/10 and a draw 12/5.

The Rams arrive at the City Ground as the Championship’s form team, having taken 26 points from the last 30 available to them – an unbeaten run that stretches back to August when they lost at home to Leeds United.

At the time it was a result that asked questions of manager Paul Clement – who, up until that point, hadn’t won a game.

Since then, though, the former Real Madrid number two has not got his side to play attractive football, but also drastically improved their defence – conceding just five times in their last 10 outings.

But perhaps the most impressive aspect of Derby’s current run has been their form away from home.

They are yet to lose on the road in the league this season, something Clement pointed to recently.

“We are confident we can go to any ground in this league and win because our record shows that,” he said.

And with such a strong attacking line to match his side’s formidable defence, it is easy to see why.

Derby boast nine different goalscorers this season, with Chris Martin (eight goals) leading the charge – so expect goals against Forest.

Martin is 15/2 to bag the first of the game in a Derby win, but it is perhaps another Rams star who is a tempting pick.

Many were surprised that Aston Villa let Andreas Weimann leave in the summer and their loss has been Derby’s gain.

The Austrian has scored in his last two outings, including grabbing the only goal of the game in County’s 1-0 victory over QPR on Tuesday.

Weimann is 13/2 to be first goalscorer again and 9/4 to score at any time.

It looks likely to be a long evening for Forest and boss Dougie Freedman – who are currently eight matches without a win and four points above the relegation zone.

However, recent history suggests that they could get something out of this fixture.

Forest have beaten Derby in two of the last meetings between the pair – drawing two and losing one – with the latest being a 2-1 success back in January.

The Reds are 11/1 to repeat that score, but with defender Matthew Mills the club’s leading goalscorer with two, it doesn’t bode particularly well.

Freedman’s best chance of getting anything from this game, therefore, will be to get his defence in order.

For all of their defeats in recent weeks, Forest have conceded more than one goal only once – the 2-0 defeat to Bristol City – so there is hope that a tighter backline could yield a positive result.

Nevertheless, at 14/5 to keep a clean sheet, that is a pretty large mountain to climb.

Freedman acknowledged that there is pressure on him and his future at the club.

“Speculation will always be there, but all I think about is this club and the job I need to do,” he said.

But add another defeat and it seems inevitable that the Scot will be heading through the exit door sooner rather than later.

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