Given the off-the-field issues which have led to restrictions on transfers, Wayne Rooney will be delighted that Derby have already collected five points this season.
There is a strong argument that it should have been more after conceding two last-gasp goals at Peterborough United, but last weekend’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough kept things ticking over before the first international break.
While there are signs that scoring goals could prove to be an issue without Colin Kazim-Richards in the side, Phil Jagielka and Curtis Davies have formed a promising partnership at the back.
Although other players are available to step into the side for the veteran pair, their experience has helped the Rams to consecutive clean sheets in the league.
Their know-how could also prove vital this weekend with some of the club’s younger players having to contend with a showdown against their neighbours in front of a packed Pride Park for the first time.
Rooney will be the first person to stress that a derby can act as an equaliser when it comes to facing opponents in contrasting form, and Hughton will be relaying that scenario in the opposite manner.
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Despite losing by one-goal margins in four matches in a row, few Forest supporters will class their defeats as unfortunate with Hughton’s side continuing to offer very little in the final third.
Hughton effectively surrendered the club’s place in the EFL Cup by naming a young side against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it only strengthened the argument that he must make several changes in personnel to save his job in the dugout.
Philip Zinckernagel has been the sole shining light in the final third, heaping the pressure on Lyle Taylor and Lewis Grabban to find some form for the first time in a year