Could Derby defeat see history repeat itself at Nottingham Forest?

Could history repeat itself at Nottingham Forest as an under-pressure manager prepares for a crucial date with arch-rivals Derby County?

Derby games are always important. Regardless of form, there will always be more riding on a meeting with a local rival than there is on a run-of-the-mill fixture with another divisional rival.

In the Championship, such contests do not come much bigger than Nottingham Forest against Derby County.

Just 15 miles separate the two cities, with Brian Clough Way fittingly dividing the two.

That road will be hit by several thousand Forest fans on Saturday as they make the short journey to the iPro Stadium hoping to see their side find a spark to reignite their faltering season.

Stuart Pearce will also tread a well-worn path aware that the game has taken on added importance on a personal level.

The second coming of one of the City Ground’s favourite sons has not gone as planned, with a fairytale adventure on the banks of the Trent becoming something of a nightmare.

Pearce has attempted to play down the pressure he finds himself under, with there seemingly enough backing from the stands and boardroom to suggest that he will be given time to get things right - even when taking a run of two wins in 20 into account.

He will, however, be aware that he is in a results business and that goodwill can only carry him so far.

His predecessor, Billy Davies, took Forest to the play-offs on two occasions during a first stint in the dugout and returned hoping to finish the job in February 2013.

He was to last a little over 12 months, though, before being relieved of his duties.

The final nail in his coffin was hammered in by Derby, with a 5-0 mauling at the hands of the Rams leaving him with nowhere to go but the dole queue.

Is it possible that Pearce could be heading in a similar direction on Saturday afternoon?


Forest, as they were last season, find themselves out-of-sorts as they prepare to cross the East Midlands divide, while Derby are flying high and pushing hard for a return to the Premier League.

A heavy defeat, or a setback of any kind, would see serious questions asked of Pearce and his ability to bring the best of an underperforming squad that has looked desperately short on desire and commitment at times.

He would be able to offer few arguments were a P45 to be pushed in his direction, with tough calls made a little easier by derby day fallout.

Forest, though, should be viewing a testing encounter as an opportunity to prove that they have taken important lessons from the past and that the failings endured under Davies 12 months ago will never be allowed to be repeated.

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