Championship betting preview: It could be curtains for Steve Cotterill

 

Nigel Clough and Steve Cotterill both go into Sunday's East Midlands derby at Pride Park on the back of poor results but their problems on a wider scale are worlds apart and we reckon the former might well hammer the final nail in the latter's Nottingham Forest coffin with a convincing win.

Derby were given a timely kick up the backside with their first-half horror show at Barnsley in midweek as they found themselves 3-0 down inside half-an-hour before restoring some pride by pulling it back to 3-2 but that false start at Oakwell, combined with Clough's resulting anger, should only serve to reassure us that they will be fully switched on from the first whistle here.

Putting that to one side, the Rams remain a team in good form. They've won four on the spin at home and the first choice back five that has otherwise performed so well since Boxing Day should be trusted to put up a solid rearguard action against a team that has failed to score in nine of the last 11 matches.

And that's the crux of the argument here because Forest's inability to create chances and score goals is at the root of all their problems, so an early goal for Derby could trigger a painfully long afternoon and a margin that will only widen if Clough's men grow in confidence and fancy making it a day to savour for years to come. As such, we like the look of the 7/2 about Derby (-1) on the handicap with Paddy Power.

Of course, this is all working to the assumption that Forest will fail to show the fight that is normally taken for granted in most derby games but the current state of affairs at the City Ground can only create a demoralised camp and the reasons why the players might revolt are mounting.

Cotterill has done well to instil trademark discipline on the road but Forest have put everything behind the ball in their last six away games and only managed one clean sheet. If the departure of Wes Morgan triggers a loss of purpose behind that game plan, then you fear for Cotterill and how this game might affect his position less than four months into the job because things could get very messy indeed.

Leicester took great delight in smashing four goals past the Reds in an FA Cup replay the week before last, prompting chants of 'We want our Billy back' from the visiting fans - in reference to former boss Billy Davies - and now Derby would marvel in doing something similar in front the BBC cameras.

Intriguingly, Davies has openly talked about taking the job if it was offered to him, calling it "unfinished business" on the Midlands edition of Late Kick Off last week and it's worth remembering that most of the players who will take to the field for the visitors at Pride Park on Sunday will be those who thrived most when under the guidance of the Glaswegian.

Recommended bets:

2pts Derby to beat Nottingham Forest at 13/10 (BetVictor)

1pt Derby (-1) to win on the handicap at 7/2 (Paddy Power)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

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