Nottingham Forest v Derby County: Five key battles - Assombalonga, Martin and more

Forest City Ground

Here are five potential battles to watch as Nottingham Forest host local rivals Derby this weekend.

Nottingham Forest against Derby County is one if the biggest derbies outside the Premier League and arguably the standout fixture in the Championship this weekend.

Forest will be looking to maintain their lead at the top of the table while a win for the Rams at their local rivals could see them move into the play-off places, which is a healthy position to be in.

We’ve assessed five key battles to keep an eye on during the game.

Michael Mancienne v Chris Martin

This will be a great clash between a talented defender and a striker fresh off the back of a new deal. Mancienne has settled at Forest but he’ll have a tough job keeping Martin quiet, as he looks to build on the three Championship goals he’s scored already this season.

Jack Hunt v Johnny Russell

Russell has the ability to make life very difficult for Hunt over on the right hand side. Russell will drift out to that side of the pitch and can press the right-back or try to drag him out of position as he reverts to a central position, which creates space for the full-back to overlap.

Andy Reid v John Eustace

This is a battle between two key characters in the middle of each team. They’re both very experienced players and will both be important if the match doesn’t start as well as they will both be hoping. Reid has the ability to kill Derby with a well placed set piece if he gets the chance.

Henri Lansbury v Richard Keogh

Lansbury will be confident heading into this game because he scored the winner in the match against Sheffield Wednesday. He’ll likely play just behind the main striker, looking to drift into the Derby defence late, which will make him difficult to pick up. Keogh needs to stay switched on throughout.

Britt Assombalonga v Jake Buxton

Assombalonga hasn’t looked out of place in the Championship following his move from Peterborough. His pace can really hurt Derby so it’s important that Buxton ensures the defensive line doesn’t move too high, creating space in behind which can be exploited.

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