Ben Watson told Nottingham Forest’s official website how the East Midlands derby with Derby County is bigger than the M23 derby between Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Forest host rivals Derby County this weekend at the City Ground.
Watson has featured in derbies. He spent six years at Wigan Athletic and played against Lancashire duo Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers. Moreover, he has tasted the M23 derby between current Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion.
But he claims Forest-Derby is the biggest he has been involved in.
It is probably the biggest derby I have personally played in. Before I signed here, I didn’t realise how big a rivalry it is. Having played in it and being in and around the city, it is huge. It will be tight early on, it will be intense with both teams looking to play with energy and play good football. Whoever keeps their head will have the chance of winning the game.
Forest and Derby share a unique connection:
Derby and Forest are two cities separated by the A52. The junction was later named Brian Clough Way, in memory of the clubs’ former famous manager.
The two East Midlands clubs share much in common. Brian Clough won league titles at both clubs, while his son Nigel Clough played for Forest and later managed Derby.
Both clubs have the size, history and facilities to play in the Premier League, but most of their encounters over the past two decades have taken part in the Championship.
Palace and Brighton no doubt have better players. The standard of their football is of higher quality. However, the history of Derby and Forest has more depth and intrigue.
Forest are favourites ahead of Saturday. The Reds currently sit fifth in the Championship table, while Derby are down in 15th having struggled on the road this season.
The two teams have already faced each other this season in the Carabao Cup. Forest ran out 3-0 winners, but that will mean little come this weekend.