Weblog: The football punter
Nottm Forest v Derby betting preview
TV: Sky Sports Football/Main Event, 7.45pm Monday
East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Derby are among a clutch of clubs hoping to gatecrash the Sky Bet Championship playoff places.
Just seven points separate Derby in seventh and 15th-placed Sheffield Wednesday in the standings and Forest are in the middle of that pack in ninth.
The Rams have the upper hand, holding a four-point buffer over nearest pursuers Birmingham, Forest and Preston, as well as a game in hand, but worryingly for their boss Frank Lampard their form has tailed off since the start of 2019.
Derby have won just two of their seven games this year and were thoroughly abject in a 1-1 draw against rock-bottom Ipswich and a 1-0 defeat by Millwall.
Injuries to the influential Mason Mount and Tom Lawrence haven’t helped the Rams’ cause but there is no escaping the fact that they are beginning to falter as the season enters its most crucial phase.
Rivals Forest also sometimes fail to live up to their potential but they have shown enough in recent weeks to suggest they are at least in a better shape than the Rams.
The appointment of Martin O’Neill as boss was hardly revolutionary but Forest are beginning to adapt to his style of play and they were unlucky to not turn at least one of their latest draws at West Brom - where they were denied victory by a contentious late penalty - and Preston into three points.
Forest have a poor recent record against the Rams and head into this showdown without a win in six against their rivals, but there could be just enough in their favour to end that sorry sequence.
Card bettors may also be tempted by the 11-4 offered by Sky Bet about a red card being shown at the City Ground. There have been five dismissals in the last seven league meetings between these rivals – one for Forest and four for Derby.