Nottingham Forest star wants to reach 'higher level' for rival Derby clash

Jack Hobbs believes that Nottingham Forest can improve upon their great start to the season, with local rivals Derby County up next in the Championship.

The Reds head into the weekend atop the Championship table, although, dependant on results, they will be looking to claim top spot back on Sunday.

Whilst sitting top of the table is a good enough feeling, Forest will want to double their pleasure by securing first place by defeating local rivals Derby County - who will be looking to avenge last season’s result.

Forest claimed a dramatic 1-0 victory over the Rams at the City Ground last season, and the scorer of the Reds goal is fully focused on claiming another victory this year - and keeping up their unbeaten start to the season.

Central defender Jack Hobbs, who is in his first permanent spell with the Reds having spent last season on-loan at the City Ground, netted a memorable first-half header in the tie last season, as well as being a vital part of the Reds keeping a clean sheet.

And whilst the former Liverpool man believes that Forest have started well, he told the official Forest website that the squad have yet to reach their full potential - and they want to find it against their rivals.

The 26-year old said: "As a squad we feel like we haven't played to the standard that we want to yet and we think we've got higher levels to reach. The type of players that aren't even making the matchday squad shows just how strong we are at the moment.

"Competition for places is high in the squad but that is a good thing because it helps develop a winning mentality. A lot of the injured lads are coming back now and that will only help to improve our chances.

"The atmosphere at the training ground is excellent. Everyone is positive, dying to succeed and wanting to do well. Ultimately though we get judged on results and although it has gone well so far, we want to strengthen our position on Sunday.”

Hobbs gives credit to Derby, claiming that the 1-0 victory last year was one of the best games he has played in, calling the atmosphere ‘unbelievable’.

He continued: "It is right up there amongst the big matches I've played in. The atmosphere was unbelievable, a sell-out crowd and it was a great occasion to be a part of. I've never experienced anything like it and I'm sure it will be the same again on Sunday.

"We felt like we let a lot of people down at their place last season but it isn't about revenge as such. Of course we want to put it right but the main thing is to take three points and keep our place at the top of the table.”

Stuart Pearce will be looking to record his fifth win of the season with victory over Derby, guaranteeing Forest first place at the close of the weekend.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch