Nottingham Forest under orders to secure bragging rights at Derby - from both manager and chairman
NOTTINGHAM Forest will be under orders to secure the bragging rights for their fans at Derby this weekend – from both manager and owner of the club.
Alex McLeish and Fawaz Al Hasawi today spoke of the importance of beating their fierce rivals in the East Midlands derby at Pride Park.
Both men realise the importance of getting one over on the Rams, regardless of the need to keep their push for a top-six finish on track.
Derby have won the last three meetings between the two sides and Al Hasawi is keen to see that run brought to an end.
"What do I know about these games? I know that this is very important," said the Kuwaiti.
"I know they won in the first game this season, so we would like to pay them back for that.
"We want to win this game. I know it is important for the fans. I will be here for it and I hope we get the right result.
"I respect Derby as a team. If we lose, that is football.
"But I can promise that we are going to do everything in our power to win."
Forest's squad is currently hit with injuries to a few key players.
But Al Hasawi is hoping to see others step into the void, just as Radi Majewski did against Peterborough last weekend.
"We have four or five players who are perhaps out, including Andy Reid. But this is not an excuse," said Al Hasawi.
"We have a good squad and we are hoping for a good result.
"Radi played very well against Peterborough.
"We do not know who will be the best player on Saturday, but we hope there is somebody who can step up and win it for us."
McLeish knows a little about local derbies, having managed Rangers in Scotland and both Birmingham and Aston Villa in the West Midlands.
And he also knows what the result on Saturday will mean to both sets of fans.
"The derby games are fantastic and I know this one can be particularly feisty," said McLeish.
"I have been involved in a few that people say there is nothing like. I have experienced the Old Firm derby.
"But I know how important these derby games are. I know what it means to the fans, when it comes to the bragging rights and everything else.
"It would be an insult to say that the Old Firm is the biggest derby in the world, because every derby, to each club's respective fans, is the biggest to them. We know how important it is."
Khalid Al-Rashidi will become the first Kuwaiti to play professional football in England, after he was granted a work permit to join Nottingham Forest.
The 25-year-old, who has been capped more than 30 times for his country, will provide back up for Karl Darlow and for the 'experienced' keeper manager McLeish is still hopeful of signing before the end of the transfer window.
Nathan Tyson may not face his former club on Saturday, with the Derby striker understood to be close to joining Millwall on loan.