Nottingham Forest Under-23 defender Adam Crookes hoping to ‘put one over’ arch-rivals Derby County in Premier League Cup


Adam Crookes is somebody who knows only too well about the rivalry between Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

A local lad who came through the Nigel Doughty Academy having signed at Wilford Lane as a schoolboy in the Under-9s, he’s relishing the chance of taking on the Rams in Monday night’s Premier League Cup meeting at Pride Park.

Forest operate a level below their arch-rivals because of having Category Two status, compared with the Rams, who have Category One. They meet in the group stages in the first of two meetings over the next few months.

Aaron Smith scores the opening goal

The Reds come into the game on the back of four straight draws, the most recent of which came at Barnsley on Friday afternoon, their second successive 2-2 draw with South Yorkshire opposition, just a week after Sheffield Wednesday held them to the same scoreline.

“We’ll always relish playing against Derby; being bitter rivals with them,” Crookes told the Post on the eve of the Group A clash.

For players at Under-23 level who play the majority of their games either at non-league grounds or on Academy pitches, the chance to play at a stadium that’s hosted Premier League and international football is something to look forward to, says the 19-year-old.

Arron Smith celebrates scoring the opening goal with Toby Edser

“It’ll be the first time many of us have played at Pride Park. It’ll be a good occasion and we’ll go there to put one over on them.”

Gary Brazil’s Reds now sit second in the Professional Development League North table, and would have gone top with three points at Barnsley. A deflected free-kick from Aaron Smith put them ahead, before Virgil Gomis lashed in the rebound when Jake Taylor’s curling effort came back off the post and into the striker’s path.

Despite taking a first half lead, they were pegged back when Stephen Mullan scored twice in quick succession to turn the game on its head, though with that one done, the focus now turns to Derby.

When questioned if he thought it was a good chance for Brazil’s men to pit their wits against a club that operates at a higher level, the big defender said “yes, definitely,” with that being the standard Forest one day aspire to be at.

For their part, the Rams come into the game in good spirits with five wins in their last six, a run which includes victories over Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Darren Wassall

The Rams, under the guidance of Darren Wassall, sit second in the group having beaten Birmingham in their first game, while Brazil’s Reds were defeated by Middlesbrough at Alfreton Town’s Impact Arena at the beginning of October.

“They’ll have some good players and I think we’ve got enough in our dressing room to there, to put in a good performance and hopefully win.”

Fans wishing to attend the 7pm kick-off at Pride Park can do so free of charge, with tickets for Reds fans being made available in the away section, though they must be ordered before Monday by calling the Rams ticket office on 0871 472 1884 (option 1).

Derby say there will be no tickets available for away supporters on the day of the game.



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