JAMIE Ward has fired the first verbal volley ahead of Derby County’s clash with rivals Nottingham Forest.
The Rams forward reckons Forest fans are “tight” after they pelted him with barely enough cash to buy a McDonald’s when he was carried off at the City Ground in September.
“They say northerners are tight — but maybe it’s the other half of the Midlands,” joked the 26-year-old ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Reds at Pride Park.
Ward is hoping for plenty of banter when Derby face Forest and look to complete another double after their 1-0 away win earlier in the season.
“I had a couple of quid thrown at me, so I put it towards a McDonald’s,” said the talented frontman. “It’s part and parcel of the game — maybe a bit less of the coins because they can injure people.
“But banter’s part of the game, you getting into them and them getting into you.
“I like that, as long as it doesn’t get too personal.”
Ward is hoping to start against Forest after he played 45 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion.
He says he is ready after recovering from the hamstring tear he sustained against Forest which ruled him out for three months.
“I’ll be on the bench at least, I’d like to think,” he said. “We’ll see how the week goes.
“The gaffer will select a team he thinks can do the job that day.
“If I’m not in it, so be it, hopefully I’ll come on and help the lads out if needed.
“I’m ready. I played for an hour against Burton in a friendly — it’s just getting that start.
“It’s a good atmosphere. It’s a big one for the players and a big one for the fans.
“It’ll be nice to get another one over them but we’re not daft, they’re not a bad team.
“We’re not expecting to win with flying colours or wash them out of the water.
“We know it’ll be tough but we’ll go in with a game plan.”
Ward previously made a comeback from his hamstring injury at Charlton Athletic - but was soon forced off after he felt further pain in the muscle.
The ex-Chesterfield and Sheffield United man has suffered several serious hamstring injuries in his career - and will manage the injury intelligently to avoid a relapse.
“I just felt it a little bit at Charlton,” he said. “I’d been out long enough with it, so I decided to come off.
“I’ve got to look after myself and my body - the gaffer understands that, which is a positive for me.
“I was just happy to score a goal. I’m a confident lad at the best of times and just stuck it in the back of the net.
“It’s all fine now and hopefully I’m over it.”