Nottingham Forest face Derby County on Saturday looking to head into another international break on the back of a confidence-boosting victory.

Typically with derby contests, the form book will go out of the window and although the home advantage is with the Reds, Derby will hope to improve their alarming form away from Pride Park.

Over the years several players have returned to haunt their former clubs. Robert Earnshaw left Derby and scored against them, whilst Kris Commons was also known for a goal against Forest after his departure from the City Ground.

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The Rams will have one man in their ranks who Forest supporters might have cast an envious eye towards during the summer.

Kieran Dowell was a decent loan acquisition for the Reds during the 2017/18 campaign and signed for Forest’s rivals during the summer of 2019.

A promising youngster, Dowell has struggled to get going under Phillip Cocu at Derby. Before the recent 2-0 defeat at Hull, the Everton loanee failed to get off the bench for seven successive games.

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He was once again an unused sub in Saturday’s win over Middlesbrough and the 22-year-old will be desperate to get on the pitch against Forest on Saturday.

Misfortune

Dowell got something of a rough deal at Forest. Signed by Mark Warburton in August 2017, the first half of that particular campaign was superb for the forward.

He scored eight goals under Warburton, including a brilliant hat-trick at Hull but was forced out of the side when Aitor Karanka arrived and abandoned the use of a number 10 in favour of helping Forest gain some defensive solidity.

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He finished the season with 10 goals in all competitions but just one came under Karanka and during the last eight games of the season he played just 59 minutes.

Dowell can clearly play. He proved as much last season when his eyecatching performances helped Sheffield United towards automatic promotion.

On the back of such an impressive couple of loan spells, it was anticipated Derby had pulled off a coup in the summer. With the season just three months old, however, he has contributed to one goal and already endured a spell training with the under-23 ranks.

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It remains to be seen whether Dowell will earn the chance to put one over Forest on Saturday but right now it seems unlikely.

If he does get on the pitch the Reds must be wary. On his day, Dowell is capable of the sublime and a player with a point to prove is always a dangerous proposition.

The £15,000-a-week (Spotrac) performer has a year left on his contract at Everton. After looking like a star of the future during his spell at Forest, his debacle at Derby leaves him with a fight to prove his many doubters wrong.

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