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OPINION: Can Rams rise to the challenge after local derby snooze fest?

IN PICTURE: Danny Fox clears the free kick.'STORY: SPORT LEAD: Nottingham Forest v Derby County.  Sky Bet Championship match at The City Ground, Nottingham.  Sunday 11th March 2018.
IN PICTURE: Danny Fox clears the free kick.'STORY: SPORT LEAD: Nottingham Forest v Derby County. Sky Bet Championship match at The City Ground, Nottingham. Sunday 11th March 2018.

The dust has now settled after the second of this season’s East Midland derbies and The Brian Clough Trophy remains at Pride Park.

We are now unbeaten in five games against our local rivals though yesterday’s game was scrappy, mostly dull and an easy pay day for Scott Carson.

So what did we learn from the game?

Well, our defence was back to keeping clean sheets and Curtis Davies is still one of the best central defenders in the division.

We lack some real threats going down the wings.

Apart from Kasey Palmer there is little effective attacking threat when Matej Vydra is missing.

Our opponents have sorted their defence, especially in the centre half and goalkeeping department.

They are still poor going forward - not a single shot on target!

Karanka will need a little time like Rowett.

The referee was poor. Bradley Johnson got away with fouls a plenty, yet Tom Huddlestone was harshly shown a second yellow card!

The game itself was a snooze fest! A cure for insomnia, but prior to kick-off I had feared an embarrassing defeat given that they had hit some good form and we appeared to be stuck in a losing rut.

Now we have learned how to defend again, and the defence did play very well (Scott Carson could have had the day off), hopefully we can now refocus on a top six placing.

There’s tough fixtures ahead, but all clubs around the top have them.

Cardiff at home on Sunday is an ideal opportunity to really get going again.

And before anyone writes us off, they were lucky to get a draw with us at their place.

What we must not allow is for them to score first as Neil Warnock is capable of getting his side to defend a one goal lead all day and all of the night.

With Joe Ledley and George Thorne both injured and Tom Huddlestone suspended, Gary Rowett May have to tinker with formations too. Bradley Johnson, for me, isn’t a lone holding midfielder.

There are challenges ahead and it’ll be interesting to see how the gaffer reacts.

The period ahead could be a true test of character for the boss and the team. Will they rise to the challenge?

Finally, I haven’t seen any statistics for season ticket renewals yet.

It will be interesting to see if sales fall for a second successive year

I have just renewed mine and my 13-year-old son’s.

Come rain or shine we are Derby til we die!