Reebok Answer 4
Results so far have justified the manager's decisions and Derby fans would celebrate even a narrow win at the City Ground in style but despite the points on the board, there are still questions to be answered about the strength and quality of our squad. Let's start answering them on Saturday.
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Well, not necessarily. The four league games so far have all been against teams destined to finish in the bottom half of the Championship this season.
It was used a lot in pre season (in the absence of mainline strikers Chris Porter and Rob Hulse) and in theory, playing with a holding midfielder allows the more attack minded players Paul Green and Stephen Pearson to raid forward, in the knowledge that Robbie Savage will shield the back four.
has taken a liking to it.
Some supporters see the 4 5 1 as negative and certainly against Blackpool, we created next to nothing. But team selection has, to an extent, been dictated by injury and another one occurred when the luckless forward Steve Davies was carried off against Plymouth.
Forest away, with all due respect to Peterborough, Blackpool and Plymouth, is the first 'difficult on paper' game the Rams will face this season.
Four games, eight points. The maximum of six from our home games, despite injuries depriving manager Nigel Clough of most of his attackers. Grounds for optimism, then, ahead of the East Midlands Derby on Saturday?
We Reebok Answer 4 contrived to lose 3 2 at Scunthorpe, who have been comprehensively beaten without scoring by Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday. Then there was the even more embarrassing cup exit, at the hands of League Two Rotherham. And the 4 5 1 system Clough seems to have settled on is not exactly setting the pulses racing.
ShapeAgainst Peterborough, we played with a 4 5 1 shape. Many fans, myself included, assumed the system was adopted out of necessity, but it seems the boss Reebok Ladies Walking Shoes
Defeat, on the other hand, would leave a sour taste and lead to renewed fan mutterings about formations and team selection.
So far this season, neither side has particularly impressed, which suggests that this will be a tight, nervy encounter, possibly akin to the horrible Championship fixture at Pride Park last season. The atmosphere at that match was caustic and the longer it stayed 0 0, the worse it got.
Fans of both clubs will be edgy all week, as nobody wants to lose to the old enemy from up Brian Clough Way. A win would make our league start look more impressive and could leave Forest floundering in the bottom three.
What Clough's men have shown thus far is an ability to grind out results and keep going until the last minute attributes which, to be fair, the much maligned Billy Davies' Derby side also had. Whether we will have enough quality to compete with the bigger teams in the division remains to be proven.
For there were a few raised eyebrows around Pride Park last Saturday, when fans realised that ex Forest attacker Kris Commons was out of the starting XI for Plymouth match.
Unfortunately, the only midfielder to have shown his worth in this system is the busy, goal scoring Green, whose season has already been disrupted by injury. A frustrating recurrence of the foot injury that ended his 2007/08 campaign early has limited him to two starts and is likely to leave him unfit to start at Forest.
Generally recognised as one of the most talented players outside of the Premier League, Commons played 89 minutes midweek against Blackpool and looked fine, even a little disappointed to be subbed just before the final whistle. People speculated that perhaps he was carrying a knock, but Clough explained after we'd beaten Plymouth 2 1 that he wanted to replicate the team that beat Peterborough United (also 2 1) on the opening day.
cover for Green, but to throw an inexperienced teenager into the cauldron of the East Midlands Derby would be a risk.
UnforgettableLast season, Derby smoothly, comfortably eased Forest aside at the City Ground in the league, as well as mounting an unforgettable comeback from 2 0 down to dump them out of the FA Cup on their own patch.
Rob Hulse, who didn't look fit against Blackpool, will have to lead the line at the City Ground and surely Commons must start with him. Their clever link up play was too much for Forest last season and those two, along with Green, must be considered our best players.
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