Nottingham Forest defeated Derby County at the City Ground on Saturday. Lewis Grabban’s goal in the 56th minute proved decisive as the Reds claimed the East Midlands bragging rights for the third consecutive time.

Boss Sabri Lamouchi has already overseen two victories over the Rams. His team currently occupy fifth in the Sky Bet Championship going into the latest international break.

Forest are certainly playing like a team who could have their best season for many years. The French boss appears to have removed the soft underbelly that had been prone to rear its ugly head in recent years.

Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi (Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On Saturday, the Reds came up against a man who might have found himself playing for Forest prior to his move to Pride Park.

Back in June 2018, Marriott was said to have preferred a move to Forest, according to Nottinghamshire Live. Then at Peterborough, he was weighing up his options and was said to favour donning the famous red shirt.

He perhaps wasn’t as high on Forest’s list of targets as was anticipated, however. The Reds signed Grabban from Bournemouth, paving the way for Marriott to rock up at Derby for £5 million (Sky Sports).

Last season the Derby man struggled for regular game time under Frank Lampard. In a rollercoaster season, he found himself out of the squad on some occasions, yet did come up trumps to steer the Rams beyond Leeds and into the Championship Play-Off Final.

Jack Marriott v Nottingham Forest; Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Saturday’s performance served to highlight that Forest were right to pursue Grabban, however.

The 31-year-old netted his 24th goal in Forest colours against the Rams and is one of the most prolific strikers at second-tier level during the last 18 months.

Backward step

Marriott has toiled, however. This season he has started just six games, scoring one goal. He was largely anonymous against Forest and although he bagged 12 goals last season, he hasn’t quite had the required impact on the Rams.

Derby fans may well cite the fact that his dazzling performance against Leeds last season is more important than anything Grabban has achieved at Forest; although that wouldn’t really be accurate.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

The Reds’ striking department isn’t the biggest and Grabban has stepped up. He has proven he can be the man to retain the mantle of scoring goals in Lamouchi’s team.

Flop

With Lampard now gone, their three influential loan players now returned to their clubs from last season, Derby needed Marriott to step up in similar fashion.

He quite simply hasn’t done that and his form this season has been shocking. On Saturday he looked well out of sorts; fluffing his lines from 10 yards in the second half.

Jack Marriott v Nottingham Forest; Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With everything that has been going on behind the scenes at Derby, there is an argument that it’s impacting on the performance levels on certain players. That won’t wash with supporters though.

When Marriott flew out of the blocks last season, some envious Forest supporters might have feared they had missed a trick.

Having seen him close up on Saturday – and looking at his form this season – it is fair to say that Forest dodged an expensive bullet when they made the decision not to pursue the signature of the 25-year-old.

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