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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

Earnshaw cool over Rams reunion

Rob Earnshaw
Earnshaw endured a frustrating time at Pride Park under two managers

Nottingham Forest striker Rob Earnshaw says he expects Derby fans to get on his back when he returns to his old club for Sunday's East Midlands derby.

The 27-year-old Wales international left Derby to join Forest in May.

"I'll get a bit [of stick] just because it's a derby," he told BBC Radio Nottingham. "People will want to give a bit of banter to me and that's fine.

"Everybody's looking forward to it. We've got to keep it calm and be controlled about everything we do."

Meanwhile, Derby's Kris Commons, former Forest midfielder and Reds fan, said Sunday would be an emotional day for him after he moved in the opposite direction to Earnshaw this summer.

He told BBC East Midlands Today: "I'm sure it's going to be full of excitement, drama and one of those derby days that you will remember for a while.

"I moved for the right reasons and now we're moving up in the table it seems like it was the right decision."

Sunday's clash will be the first since a 2-2 draw in the Championship in 2005. It pits a Rams side steadily recovering from last season's Premier League humiliation against a newly promoted Forest with just two league wins to their name.

In 72 league meetings between the two, Forest come out on top, with 30 wins to Derby's 24.

But BBC Radio Derby's Derby County commentator Ross Fletcher thinks the Rams are in better shape going into Sunday's clash.

"They are coming off their best performance of the season, when they played Norwich off the park for long periods on Tuesday night," he said.

"The return of Martin Albrechtsen to the heart of the defence is a big plus, and Rob Hulse and Nathan Ellington are building a good strike partnership.

"Ellington looked really sharp against Norwich and Hulse is one of the Championship's form strikers, with four goals in his last five games.

"Add to that one defeat in 10 matches, a full house at Pride Park and two thumping defeats of Forest in their last two games at home, and you can see why there's a feeling of optimism in Derby right now."

Colin Fray, BBC Radio Nottingham's Forest commentator, hopes Reds boss Colin Calderwood can inspire his side, containing a strong core of locally born players, to settle old scores.

"After lacklustre displays in their previous two visits to Pride Park, it's time Forest displayed for their fans some of the passion missing during horrendous 4-2 and 3-0 displays," he said.

Fans fired up for East Midlands derby

"The latter [in late 2004] cost Joe Kinnear his job. Well, a combination of result, performance, describing the derby as 'just another game' beforehand and failing to explain the failings to the fans afterwards cost him his job, anyway.

"Now, Calderwood takes a side there with Nottingham running right through it. Though Julian Bennett will be missing through injury, James Perch, Wes Morgan, Kelvin Wilson and Lewis McGugan will have left the rest of the dressing room in no doubt about the importance of the fixture.

"It's always crucial, of course. It means more to the fans than any other game. Only minutes after promotion last season, the first thoughts of many of those fans were that their side would reignite the derby after a nearly four-year absence.

"And just as crucial this time for Forest are points. Off the bottom after their win over Palace in midweek, now comes the perfect chance to score a second away win of the campaign only days after the first.

"Forest must ensure they're tight at the back - silly errors have cost them dear this season - and if they can win the midfield battle, the likes of Earnshaw, Joe Garner and Nathan Tyson will fancy making sure that it is Reds fans who are smiling on the way home."

You can see more pre-match build-up on BBC East Midlands Today on BBC One at 1830 GMT on Friday and hear full match commentary on BBC Radio Derby and Nottingham from 1200 GMT on Sunday.

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see also
Derby v Nottm Forest
31 Oct 08 |  Championship
Earnshaw excited by Forest move
04 Jun 08 |  Football

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