Time to make the East Midlands black and white again, says our Derby County fan columnist

Forest and Derby will again do battle this weekend.
Forest and Derby will again do battle this weekend.

Our Rams columnist Andy Buckley-Taylor looks ahead to the big East Midlands Derby

Derby visit nearest rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday lunchtime for the latest East Midlands Derby and our biggest rivals will be in a more confident mood going into the game than in previous seasons.

We were dispatched with ease 3-0 when we met them in a Carabao Cup game earlier this season whilst giving a start to many of our young players.

Saturday see us travel across Brian Clough Way after our best performance of the season last weekend, beating Middlesbrough 2-0 at Pride Park.

The Red end of the East Midlands has seen the better start of the two clubs and they currently occupy fifth place in the table, four points ahead of The Rams with a game in hand.

There are varying opinions on how we should go about the match. The old saying is that form goes out of the window when a local Derby is being contested, but I think that careful planning will be necessary ahead of the game. For example, the formation will be vital.

The 4-2-3-1 formation hasn’t served us well on our travels and in my opinion the 4-4-2 with the midfield diamond is the better option on Saturday. We will need to start on the front foot and take the game to our hosts. It may be a risky strategy, but when you are up against a side with attacking players like Carvalho, Ameobi, Adomah, Lolley and Grabban, attack can be the best form of defence.

One thing is for sure and that's that we can’t afford to keep the ball deep and invite them on to attack us.

We will need our full-backs to perform to the best of their ability. Jayden Bogle in particular can be a vital weapon. Tom Lawrence, for me, must keep that central role. He looked a revelation playing behind the strikers on Saturday and I have been a big critic of his in the past.

The season has been very hit and miss so far, but the division is yet again a wide open competition and despite our inconsistency we sit just four points out of the play-off places.

Our away form hasn’t been great and what better place to start to put things right than winning in Nottingham on Saturday.

Let’s make the East Midlands Black and White again!