2 Nottingham Forest dilemmas Steve Cooper has ahead of Derby County clash | OneFootball

2 Nottingham Forest dilemmas Steve Cooper has ahead of Derby County clash

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Football League World

There is a few tasty rivalry clashes in the EFL this weekend but none bigger than the one being played out at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon.

Trentside will play host to two bitter rivals as Nottingham Forest take on Derby County, with both teams in pretty fine fettle as it stands.

The hosts have won four out of their last six Championship matches, and in the middle of that took the scalp of Arsenal in the FA Cup third round as well.

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Against all the odds though, Derby are on a five-match unbeaten run in the league, with Wayne Rooney getting the best out of a thread-bare squad and a club that is in total disarray off the pitch.

Those issues have to be put to one side though as the two teams lock horns tomorrow – but what dilemmas does Reds boss Steve Cooper have ahead of kick-off? Let’s take a look.

4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3?

Cooper has alternated formations during the course of his tenure at Forest so far between these two, so it’ll be a big decision on what to go with against Rooney’s side.

He has used a back three more often but wins over Preston and Peterborough earlier in the season have come with a back four – he tends to use that against teams who look a bit more fragile defensively.

Could Derby be classed as that with the loss of Phil Jagielka? Potentially, and a 4-2-3-1 is what Rooney almost exclusively sets his side up in.

So Cooper could look to match his rival in the opposite dugout, or he could continue to stick with the 3-4-1-2 that worked to great effect against Millwall last weekend.

Davis or Grabban – or both?

Soccer Football – FA Cup Third Round – Nottingham Forest v Arsenal – The City Ground, Nottingham, Britain – January 9, 2022 Nottingham Forest’s Keinan Davis in action with Arsenal’s Ben White Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

With Steve Cooper usually opting for a lone striker and two supporting attacking midfielders, it was interesting to see both Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis both start at The Den last weekend.

Grabban however played more of a supporting role in the number 10 as Brennan Johnson joined the Aston Villa loanee up-front and there’s every chance that could happen again.

Philip Zinckernagel has been a good player for Forest this season though so you’d imagine for a match like this, Cooper would go with one of Davis and Grabban being supported by the man on loan from Watford and the dynamic talent of Johnson.

Which one starts though? Davis has a lot of strength and his hold-up play is top notch, whilst Grabban brings more of a goalscoring touch and experience in these kinds of matches – it’s a tough one to call.

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