We’re still a fortnight away from Christmas, but fans of Derby County and Nottingham Forest will be dreaming of an early gift as the Championship’s form sides meet at the iPro Stadium.
The Rams have put their early-season woes behind them since Steve McClaren’s return to the club, with five wins on the bounce. That run has been built on real defensive strength, chalking up four clean sheets in their last five games.
However, they face a tough test against a Forest side who have won each of their last three games, netting nine times in the process – recording a 5-2 victory at Barnsley in their last away trip.
That helped make Forest the league’s joint-second top scorers, but they’re up against the second-best defence in the Championship. Something has to give in this East Midlands derby. But what?
We reckon it’s going to be Derby’s backline. Despite their solid record in recent weeks, the fixture list has been extremely kind to them of late, with two of their last three fixtures coming against sides in the relegation zone – Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic.
By contrast, the Nottinghamshire club have outscored top club Newcastle United and mid-table Barnsley in their last two games.
And Forest’s talented frontline including the prolific Britt Assombalonga, Apostolos Velios and former Arsenal ace Nicklas Bendtner, meaning the Rams will have their hands full.
In the player markets, Nicklas Bendtner is generously priced to score anytime at 10/3, having netted in two of his last five outings, while Bendtner to score and Nottingham Forest to win is well worth a flutter at 9s.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing