Making the right decisions could be the key to securing East Midlands bragging rights in tomorrow’s City Ground ‘derby’.That’s the assertion of Sean O’Driscoll as he prepares for his first Forest-Derby game as manager of The Reds.
The fixture is the most eagerly anticipated of the season for both sets of supporters and there’s likely to be a white-hot atmosphere on Trentside by kick-off time (1.15pm).
O’Driscoll recognises the importance of keeping a cool head in such encounters but is also acutely aware of the need to apply sound footballing logic.
“The game will revolve around making the right decisions,” he told us, “and you make better decisions when you can handle the pressure.
“When you look at the two teams Derby will probably have more players than us who have experienced a Forest-Derby game.
“That’s one thing we will have to reiterate in the build-up to the game but we will probably have more experienced players in terms of games played and the level they have been played at, so it will sort of balance itself out.
“But once the whistle goes things can often be blanked out by the intensity of the game and players rely on instinct.
“We’ve got to make sure we don’t step over the line and give the referee a problem in a sense that he’s got to make a decision.”
O’Driscoll got his first taste of the unique atmosphere generated by Forest-Derby games last season when he was a member of Steve Cotterill’s backroom team for the game at Pride Park.
He added: “I’ve been involved in a few derbies but this is probably as intense one as I’ve seen.
“Until I joined Forest I wasn’t aware how intense the rivalry between the two sides is.
“It’s a parochial thing really – it probably doesn’t get the headlines that maybe it deserves.
“It’s on TV so it’s probably gaining notoriety but it’s probably gaining that because of what has happened off the pitch rather than on the pitch, which is a shame.
“You want it to be competitive but within boundaries and hope that both sets of players walk off pleased with the way they’ve played, which will hopefully please the fans as well.”
O’Driscoll will check on the fitness of Sam Hutchinson before finalising his team after he missed last weekend’s game at Leeds with a knee injury.
Midfielder Adlene Guedioura remains sidelined through suspension.