With Michael Dawson sidelined, Chema has been filling in for Nottingham Forest home games and Tobias Figueiredo taking on away duty.

So the former starts this weekend, right?

With Derby due at the City Ground on Saturday, rotation policy suggests that Spanish scheming will prevail over Portuguese power.

Is that the correct call?

In many ways, there is little to choose between two Iberian options.

Figueiredo is perhaps slightly more rugged, which is why he has been getting the nod on the road.

When home comforts are savoured, Chema’s ball-playing ability should come into its own.

He can pick a pass, a la Dawson, and can be a useful option when building from the back.

Derby, though, is no ordinary home game.

It will be a battle.


(Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With that in mind, and with there no indication that Dawson will be back, should Figueiredo retain his place from the trip to Luton?

He has been posting better numbers of late, or least more of them.

When lining up in away games, the chances are that you going to be see more action as a centre-half than when turning out in front of your own supporters.

So Figueiredo’s stats have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

He has, however, made more blocks (four to one), headed clearances (11 to eight) and clearances (23 to nine) since Dawson hobbled off at Stoke.

In other areas, there is nothing to separate to two defensive rivals.

Both have three interceptions to their name, 10 recoveries and 14 duel successes.

Figueiredo has taken a few more touches (126 to 109), while Chema’s passing accuracy (79.27 against 71.26) is marginally better.

Whichever way Sabri Lamouchi goes, he is not going to heading out on any limb.


He has two reliable options from which to select.

Experience could work in the favour of Figueiredo, who is now well versed in the demands of English football and the rivalry which exists between Reds and Rams.

And if you are looking for good omens, then the clock could be turned back to August 27.

Forest saw off Derby 3-0 that day in the Carabao Cup.

Little should be read into that contest, with league games that see points put on the line taking on considerably more importance.

It is, however, worth taking note of the Reds’ defensive unit that evening.

Brice Samba was between the sticks, while Matty Cash and Yuri Ribeiro filled the full-back berths.

With Dawson rested, it was Figueiredo who lined up alongside Joe Worrall at centre-half.

It is hardly a stretch to suggest that quintet could be called upon again this weekend.

Alternatives are available, such as Chema and Jack Robinson at left-back, but if it ain’t broke then why fix it?

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