Championship Analysis – Nottingham Forest and Derby share the spoils in East Midlands clash

Nottingham Forest remained top of the Championship on Sunday after sharing a point with their fierce rivals Derby, a result that also maintained the hosts’ unbeaten start to the season – although it also meant they lost their 100% record at the City Ground.

A local derby always looks a tasty affair on paper but, as often happens, the fast and furious action on the pitch made it a somewhat frustrating spectacle for any neutral in the crowd or at home, a view generally acknowledged by both managers.

“I think a draw was a fair result as I didn’t think we did enough to win it. I was a little disappointed with the quality of the football, from both teams really,” said Forest manager Stuart Pearce afterwards, while Steve McClaren noted that both teams cancelled one another out for long periods.

Results had gone favourably for Forest on Saturday with Watford and Wolves – both of whom could have overtaken them – failing to win, so Pearce described the draw as a “missed opportunity”. Nevertheless, he will no doubt still be delighted with the start his side have had.

Derby sit 10th, five points behind Forest and two short of the play-offs. After the corresponding fixture last season, Derby’s Nigel Clough lost his job. The Rams may be lower than predicted at present but it’s unlikely that McClaren’s job is in any danger.

The same can’t be said for Fulham’s Felix Magath, whose position looks more and more perilous with every game. The cottagers were beaten again on Sunday by Reading, with visiting fans calling for Magath’s dismissal after the game. Magath, however, has since described his team’s results as “baffling”.

Blackpool fans, however, are very much behind their manager, the long-suffering Jose Riga. It looked unlikely during the week that Riga would be in charge after the club was linked to Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett, but Rowett reportedly turned down the job, a demonstration of just how far the Tangerines have fallen in recent seasons.

Blackpool’s 0-0 draw with Wolves was the club first point of the season. “I think that the feeling I have had from day one is that the fans are really behind us and they can recognise when you work hard to get something. It’s not about me, or the staff, it’s about the players. I just focus on my job as manager it,” said Riga.

Bolton, the only other winless club in the division, sit alongside Fulham and Blackpool in the bottom three. It took a long time for Bolton to get going last season so Dougie Freedman will be frustrated history appears to have repeated itself. At the other end, other than Forest, Charlton remain the only unbeaten side and sit fourth and only two points off the top after a 1-0 win over Watford.

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