Could Spanish appointment see Nottingham Forest sign former Derby County player?

Former Porto head coach Julen Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui is a candidate to take charge at the City Ground.

The statue of Brian CloughThe statue of Brian Clough, a legend in both camps.

As far as fierce rivals go, few can lay claim to as many connections as Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

In management terms, there's been Brian Clough, Billy Davies and Steve McClaren, while Robert Earnshaw, Kris Commons and Jamie Ward have each played for both in recent years. I could go on.

But will another be added to the list if Forest appoint Julen Lopetegui as boss?

Former Porto head coach Julen LopeteguiLopetegui at Porto

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona goalkeeper is said to be one of the front-runners to take over on Trentside (Nottingham Post), having left Portuguese giants FC Porto earlier in the year.

Though ambitious, the reports are made plausible by last week's appointment of Pedro Pereira, formerly of Premeira Liga outfit SC Braga, as Forest's director of football.

After a brief spell at Rayo Vallecano in the early 2000s, Lopetegui took on his second managerial role with Real Madrid's Castilla team in 2008, when a young forward by the name of Alberto Bueno was trying to bridge the first team gap.

Both went their separate ways a year later, with Bueno moving on to Real Valladolid and Lopetegui entering unemployment, before going on to coach Spain's Under-19, 20 and 21 teams.

In the meantime, the former joined Derby on loan, but after chipping in with only five goals and seven assists the Rams were left sufficiently unimpressed, and stood by as Rayo snapped him up on a free transfer the following summer.

Derby County's Alberto Bueno in action against Nottingham Forest's Chris Gunter (L)Bueno playing for Derby against Forest

There, Bueno found his feet, scoring better than a goal every three games during his two seasons at Vallecas, prompting Lopetegui, now in his new job at Estadio do Dragao, to reunite with his former protege.

What followed, though, was far from ideal for both parties. Bueno played just eight times for the Dragons, while Lopetegui was shown the door with his side third in the standings and out of both the Champions League and Taca de Liga.

Perhaps it could be third time lucky for the pair of them. In Nottingham.

Alberto Bueno in action for Rayo VallecanoBueno scored 17 goals in 36 games for Rayo in 2014-15

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