There's plenty at stake in this massive East Midlands Derby.
It’s been one of the most thrilling Championship seasons in recent memory, and Monday’s East Midlands Derby between Nottingham Forest and Derby will have a big say in who will clinch a play-off spot.
Frank Lampard’s side are the more likely of the two sides to finish in the top six – as they sit just two points adrift of Bristol City, four points (with a game in hand) ahead of Forest – but a home win on Monday really throws the cat amongst the pigeons.
Derby are unbeaten in their last six matches against Forest, although they’ve been painfully consistent on the road, so it’s near-impossible to predict what Rams side will turn up.
Forest have won three of their last four at The City Ground, and haven’t lost to Derby at home in five matches; this one will come down to fine margins.
These are generally pretty poor games (despite Sky’s billing), which is why I’m backing under 2.5 goals. Just one of the last six derbies at The City Ground have seen over 2.5 goals, and this is shaping up to be yet another war of attrition.
While I don’t expect there to be many goals, I’m still going to tip an anytime goalscorer: Lewis Grabban.
The Forest man is a chunky 9/5 to find the net at any time, and considering Derby have just two away clean sheets all season, that price is a tempter.
Grabban hasn’t been as explosive recently as he was a couple of months ago, but he’s still Forest’s biggest goal threat (scoring 15 times this season), so he’s my pick to stick one in.
Often the lack of goalmouth action in these matches has been adequately replaced by spouts of entertaining ill-discipline.
Derby have had a man sent off in three of their last five trips to Nottingham, and this is a good market to explore.
The Rams have received 66 yellow cards this season – the fourth-most in the Championship – which is why I’m backing them to earn at least one yellow in each half on Monday.