12 September 2014 15:24
Stuart Pearce is relishing Nottingham Forest’s showdown with fierce rivals Derby County in the Championship on Sunday.
The current leaders welcome last season’s play-off final losers to the City Ground for one of the most fiercely contested derby games in the country.
Forest were thrashed 5-0 when the two last met, though they were victorious in the corresponding fixture in September 2013.
Pearce, whose side have taken 13 points from a possible 15, wants to make a statement of intent by beating a side he regards as a major competitor in the race for promotion.
“This game means a lot to the supporters but it also means a lot to us as well,” he told the club’s official website.
“It was a fixture I loved playing in as a player. Hopefully we can put a marker down against one of our big rivals for promotion and secure an important victory for ourselves and the fans.
“I’m looking forward to the game on Sunday but even more so I’m looking forward to what will be a fantastic atmosphere.”
Forest could be displaced from top spot on Saturday as Watford and Wolves sit just a point behind them.
Oscar Garcia will take charge of Watford for the first time when they travel to Charlton Athletic, while Wolves head to struggling Blackpool.
Garcia assumed control at Vicarage Road following Giuseppe Sannino’s unexpected resignation last month.
At the bottom end of the table, under-fire Fulham manager Felix Magath will be expecting his side to put their torrid start to life in the second tier behind them when they travel to Reading, with the Craven Cottage outfit having lost four of their five games so far.
Huddersfield Town will also begin a new era this weekend, with former Charlton boss Chris Powell taking the reins for the trip to Middlesbrough.
Leeds United face fellow strugglers Birmingham City at St Andrew’s, while Ian Holloway’s high-flying Millwall face an Ipswich Town side who have not won since the opening day.
Blackburn Rovers go up against Wigan Athletic in all-Lancashire mid-table clash, and two sides competing for an immediate return to the top flight face off in south Wales when Cardiff City tackle Norwich City.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday travel to Bolton Wanderers, Rotherham United play Bournemouth, and Brentford host Brighton and Hove Albion.