It is safe to assume that Ben Watson will figure prominently in Nottingham Forest’s plans for derby day, which means a personal high could be hit by the 34-year-old.

As an ever-present on team sheets this season, it would be a surprise to see a veteran performer miss out.

There are, of course, a few days to go before Derby roll down Brian Clough Way and anything could feasibly happen.

An unfortunate, and very untimely injury would throw a spanner in the works.

Watson, though, can be expected to make Sabri Lamouchi’s starting XI for the 15th time this season.

With Michael Dawson still sidelined, there is a good chance he will be first out of the tunnel with captain’s armband strapped in place.

And if he sees the first whistle, then he’ll probably see the last.

Watson does not need another 90-minute outing to hit a notable mark at the City Ground, but he will take as many as he can get.

If he reaches 15 minutes against the Rams, then the 2019-20 campaign will be become the midfielder’s most productive on Trentside.

In terms of Championship competition.

Prominent

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

Watson was acquired by Aitor Karanka in February 2018 after severing ties with Watford.

He would figure prominently, and positively, during the remainder of that campaign.

A seasoned performer helped to steer the Reds clear of relegation danger, taking in 14 appearances (and as many starts) along the way.

He started the 2018-19 campaign still very much in favour, but fell out of it in late-October.

A change in the dugout was required to turn the tide for Watson, as Martin O’Neill offered an olive branch.

Again, Watson was unable to nail down a regular role as he slipped back down the pecking order.

Another clean slate was delivered over the summer as Sabri Lamouchi picked up a managerial baton at the City Ground.

The Frenchman saw enough in Watson to make him an integral part of his plans.

Questions

 

Early questions were asked of that assessment, but humble pie quickly became a steady diet for plenty of the naysayers.

Watson has, to put it bluntly, been a revelation this season.

He even has two goals to his name. Two!

A tally unheard of for several years by a man most at home in the archetypal water carrier post.

Having often been associated with a few other words beginning with ‘s’, Watson has become ‘Super Benny’ once more.

And that standing is now about to be fully recognised.

In 2017-18, Watson took in 1234 minutes of second tier action for Forest.

Last term 1202, and he stands on 1220 in the current campaign.

He has also made 14 starts in each of the three seasons he has been part of the Reds’ ranks.

On Saturday, in the most glamorous of ties for those in the East Midlands, the bar should be raised again by a man who has gone from unwanted to indispensible several times over!

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