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Derby County skipper Richard Keogh looks to bounce back from derby woes against Nottingham Forest

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

Richard Keogh

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DERBY County skipper Richard Keogh will be keen to erase memories of his last encounter with Nottingham Forest this weekend.

The central defender was sent off for a second bookable offence as the Rams lost 1-0 at the City Ground in September – a result that cost manager Nigel Clough his job.

“Obviously, we all remember the last game,” said Keogh.

“On a personal note, I felt I was harshly sent off.

“That will be in the back of our heads, but every game is different.”

Derby have a chance to gain revenge on Saturday, when they take on Forest in the return fixture at the iPro Stadium, kick-off 12.15pm.

The match has added significance as both sides are in position to push for promotion to the Premier League.

Keogh is relishing the big-match atmosphere that always accompanies these East Midlands derbies.

“We knew this was going to be a big, big month for us, with some tough games,” he said.

“The Forest is a great game and a great derby to be involved in.

“And our positions in the league table adds a bit more to it as well.

“What a game to be involved in!

“I’m looking forward to it and all the lads are.

“I’m really excited – this is why we play football.

“We want to be involved in these big games and they don’t come much bigger than this.

“The crowd is going to be absolutely electric and everyone will be pumped up for it.

“We’ll be ready.”

As captain, it will be Keogh’s job to ensure the occasion does not get the better of his team.

“There’s a fine line between being committed and over-stepping the line,” he said.

“I think the lads realise that.

“We have got a committed bunch of lads who will play for each other and for the shirt.

“Hopefully, I can set the right standard as captain by the way I play and the lads will follow me.”

Derby have gone four games without a win – or a goal – but Forest are without a victory in seven outings in all competitions.

Forest have lost a string of first-team players to injury over the recent weeks and months, putting a dent in their promotion charge.

But Keogh said: “They’re a good team. They’ve been missing some key players and have hit some patchy form, you could say.

“But they have got a massive squad, so although they’ve got a lot of injuries, they’ve got a lot of players to come in.

“Both teams will want to win to cement their place in the play-off positions or push up towards second place.”

As for the Rams’ form, Keogh is not unduly worried.

“People will say we haven’t won in four but anyone who has seen the games will know we’re not playing badly,” he said.

“We’re creating chances and there’s still a lot of belief in the camp.

“We know we can do well against the best teams, like we did at Reading last weekend.

“There’s a bit of disappointment that we’ve not been able to finish our chances but there’s also excitement about what lies ahead.”

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