Andy Cook’s Nottingham Forest side face East Midlands rivals Derby County on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the FA Cup as they look to make it back to back wins against The Rams.
This is Cook's second time in the dugout for The Reds against Derby after they beat their neighbours 1-0 at Pride Park back in September and after only five months at the club he states he now understands just how much this rivalry means to the team.
Cook said: “I’m not from this area and this is my first season here and I never knew just how big of a derby this is until we played the last one.
“We always get messages from the whole club about how great it would be to get another result over them.
“The men have also done great against them this season with two wins and if we can match that then that’d be fantastic.
“The rivalry in any game is great but this one is something special and the fact it’s a FA Cup game just adds to it.”
His side come into the fixture in impressive form after they have picked up six wins out of their last six games but he believes that form plays an irrelevant part in the tie.
“I don’t think form matters when you play Derby, results go out the window and there’s always no better time to play an East Midlands derby,” Cook explained.
“Yes, we’ve already beat them once this season but that can also go against us as Derby will want to come out and prove a point to themselves and others that September’s result was just a one off for them.
“We’ve been speaking all week about not being complacent and making sure we’re focusing on ourselves. But as a squad the players don’t get ahead of themselves and are only focused on their game anyway.
“The girls will come up to me and tell me that they’re focused and what they need to do, which is brilliant to see the players lead that.”
Cook has named a familiar starting 11 for his league fixtures over the course of the season but has often named a much-changed line-up for his cup games to allow the rest of his squad game time on the field. But he is looking to name a strong starting line-up on Sunday as it’s a competition he wants his side to go far in.
“The FA Cup for me is a competition we want to do as well in as the league so this is something were taking very seriously.
“We’ve all spoke about it this week how we need to dig deep and try and get as far in the cup as we can because it’s a great challenge for us and the prize money at our level helps teams like us.
“We will potentially be looking to change a few bits as some are out of our hands but it’ll be a recognisable full-strength side.”
“We’ve had a few injury concerns with a couple of players but it looks like they’re pulling through. We’re all looking strong heading into the challenge”