Gary Rowett hopes derby clash can get Rams back on track
The Rams are winless in six going into their clash with Forest.
Gary Rowett feels Sunday’s clash at fierce rivals Nottingham Forest is the perfect game to get Derby’s faltering promotion bid back on track.
The Rams were second in the Sky Bet Championship table at the start of February but are now in danger of losing their play-off place following a run of six matches without a win.
With 10 games left to secure their top-six spot, Rowett expects the derby to reinvigorate his side.
“This game is important because we know that our last six results aren’t good enough,” the Derby boss told RamsTV.
“I could sit here and say that we have lost two games in 17 but the reality is that we have to win games.
“We need to show spirit when we haven’t got the ball, we need the energy and drive that the fans want to see in a local derby, but we’ve also got to make sure that the game and our recent form doesn’t stop us from playing with confidence when we attack.
“It’s a good moment in the season to play the game because the players shouldn’t need any motivation.”
Derby won the reverse fixture 2-0 in October after Matej Vydra struck inside 24 seconds and they went on to also collect maximum points in their next three games to move into promotion contention.
“It felt like a big game, we were at home and we desperately needed a win,” said Rowett.
“I think we were below them in the table at the time, and we’re now 10 places higher and 17 points ahead so that shows how strong we have been since that point.
“It was a big performance and result, and it was a big springboard to where we are now.”
Forest have not beaten their neighbours since November 2015 but head into the fixture on the back of a five-match unbeaten run.
Manager Aitor Karanka told nottinghamforest.co.uk: “It is the best time for us. We are in a good moment.
“I said one or two weeks ago that I wanted to go into the games feeling that we had a team on the pitch.
“In the last few games we have shown that we can compete and when it is our day, we can score five goals.
“On Tuesday (goalless draw at Norwich), we didn’t win the game but we had three or four chances to score and we have to keep improving.
“We are consistent, aggressive and a team on the pitch so it is a good game for us to play.”