Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka believes the East Midlands derby has come at a good time for them as they go into Sunday’s game full of confidence.
The Reds are on a five-match unbeaten run and Karanka is eager to get back out on the pitch as they prepare to face Derby County at The City Ground.
He said: “It is the best time for us. We are in a good moment; we have been working for it. I said one or two weeks ago that I wanted to go into the games feeling that we had a team on the pitch.
“In the last few games we have shown that we can compete and when it is our day, we can score five goals. On Tuesday, we didn’t win the game but we had three or four chances to score and we have to keep improving.
“We are consistent, aggressive and a team on the pitch so it is a good game for us to play.”
With the bragging rights up for grabs, Karanka is fully aware of what the game means to the supporters, as well as everyone involved with Nottingham Forest.
“I have been here for two months, but since I have been here everyone has been looking forward to this game,” he said. “Thankfully, we arrive at it in a good moment as if it had arrived a few weeks ago, who knows what would happen.
“It is different now, we are in a good place, we are confident and the people are confident with the team. At the last game at home, we could feel everyone’s support so it is good for us.
“It is my first derby here, I know how excited everyone is and I am the same. It is a game that we can win and give the crowd something back for their support.
“In the last few years, the fans haven’t had many good moments and we will be doing our best to give them something.”
He added: “Derbies are the same everywhere. For the supporters, it is the game that they want to win. If we finished 10th in the table and beat Derby at home, the fans would be happy.
“The way to approach the game is the same, but as a player it is a game you would love to play in. Our players are desperate to play in it, at our stadium with a good atmosphere and it would be perfect for us to give the crowd a nice present.”