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Last Updated: 03/07/20 9:46pm
Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi has urged his players to retain their focus as they look to move a step closer to the Premier League with victory over East Midlands rivals Derby.
Forest beat their local rivals 1-0 at home in November but will face a tough test if they are to do the double over Phillip Cocu’s side, who have won their last five matches in a row.
Derby vs N Forest
July 4, 2020, 12:00pm
Lamouchi’s side are progressing well themselves, however, and are fourth in the Sky Bet Championship table – seven points clear of Derby in seventh – having won their last two matches.
“It is important to keep our focus, but the players know what they have to do,” said Lamouchi ahead of the fixture at Pride Park.
“In the last game, [a 1-0 home win over Bristol City] I was really impressed because without fans and without the right intensity to keep the focus higher like that, it is not easy, especially when we played 16 minutes more.
“They know what they need to do because minute after minute, half after half, game after game they feel something good. They are working hard every day for that.
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“There are important games, important points, important details and important minutes and we have started in a fantastic way, scored five goals with seven points out of nine and we have conceded two goals only in extra time.
“It is positive, so we have to keep focused and to continue to work hard with this atmosphere around the team, inside the dressing room, on the pitch and at the club every day.”
Derby boss Cocu is also looking for ‘more of the same’ from his players, as they look to force their way into the play-off shake-up.
The Rams have advanced to within a point of the top six with their impressive run of victories, with Wayne Rooney scoring the winner in their last two games, including a stunning free kick in the 1-0 win at Preston in midweek.
They must now face five of the teams currently above them in their remaining six fixtures, starting with the visit of Forest, but Cocu is confident they can remain in play-off contention.
He said: “Definitely, we’ll give it a go. We have come a long way and we have now put ourselves in a position where we are one point off Cardiff.
“We all know we have six games coming up against the top teams in the league, but it’s positive that we have this big challenge ahead of us in the final stages of the league. That’s why we play.”