Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall has exclusively told Seat Pitch that the Reds are expecting a different Derby County side to the one which was comfortably defeated in the Carabao Cup back in August.
Sabri Lamouchi’s team ran riot against the Rams earlier in the season. The 3-0 win handed Derby boss Phillip Cocu a rude awakening during his first taste of the East Midlands-derby.
Both managers chose to ring the changes that night and although Worrall believes that highlighted Forest’s strength in depth, he is fully aware of the threat which a full-strength Derby will provide.
He told Seat Pitch: “We came out on top last time which is a testament to our strength in depth but we fully expect them to come out firing.
“There’s no doubting they’re a good side, they’ve been through a sticky stage of the season but at the end of the day, it’s a local derby. The form goes out of the window and previous results go out of the window too.
“Everyone needs to be on top of their game and that includes us. They’re a big threat but then so are we.”
Worrall was handed the captain’s armband during the win over the Rams back in August. Being Nottingham born-and-bred, the 22-year-old understands the importance of Saturday’s game.
Despite the magnitude of the game, the centre-back will be trying to approach the game without too much change to the norm.
He continued: “Me personally and the boys that have been at the club know the importance of the game. It’s all you speak about through the week. I’ve been getting phone calls from my mates and my family saying it’s a big game and to make sure I go to bed early and stuff like that!
“A lot of the newer lads have played in big derby games for their previous clubs and I think everyone knows what to expect. It’s an exciting spectacle and we will just try and prepare as normally as possible.”
Worrall has been tremendous for the Reds this season. One thing that nobody will ever be able to take away from him is his commitment to the football club.
After a year on loan at Rangers, it was uncertain what role he would play under the management of Lamouchi.
Players with more experience and Championship expertise stood in front of Worrall but that didn’t faze him whatsoever.
He has returned from Ibrox like a completely different player and is now an established first-team regular in Lamouchi’s team.
He has been one of Forest’s standout performers this season and offered the team a defensive solidity that perhaps hasn’t been quite so evident in previous campaigns.