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O’Neill on East Midlands derby

21 February 2019

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Martin O'Neill is looking forward to taking his place in the dugout for his first East Midlands derby as Nottingham Forest manager on Monday night.

Having featured in the fixture on many occasions as a player with The Reds, O'Neill is now eager to make more good memories against Derby County.

He said: "I am looking forward to it. I played in a few, obviously, during my time here as a player under Mr Clough who had great days with both clubs. For me, it is new territory and I am looking forward to it immensely.

"I have some really good memories, and some not so good. I remember in the year that we won the league, Derby were the third or fourth game here and we won quite convincingly which was good news for us because it kept us on a decent league run.

"Then I remember going to Derby and winning in poor conditions. I also remember us getting well beaten at Derby which the manager wasn't very pleased with. All told, they are always decent memories one way or another.

"The atmosphere is always very good in the derby games. I have watched from a distance in previous years and I have attended one of these games before where the atmosphere was quite electric. Sometimes the games themselves don't live up to that atmosphere but that is our fault more than anything else."

With all of the passion and intensity that comes with a rival clash, O'Neill is hoping that lady luck can shine on his side at The City Ground on Monday evening.

He said: "I'd like all of those things to be in our favour and naturally for us to win. I'd like us to play well for a start because it is very important for us.

"We have dropped a number of points in games recently when you would have thought, almost by right if there is such a thing in football, that we should have won.

"The penalty against us in the last minute against West Bromwich Albion and Saturday at Preston when we had a perfectly good goal disallowed which would have probably won us the game.

"From that viewpoint, we have a bit of ground to try and catch up on and as the games run down you have fewer opportunities to do that."

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