Lee Grant says it is time for Derby County to create new memories against arch rivals Nottingham Forest, in what will be the goalkeeper’s first East Midlands derby since re-joining the Rams this summer.
Former England Under-21 international Grant spent seven years at Derby after progressing through the club’s youth ranks.
The 30-year-old had loan spells with Burnley and Oldham Athletic before joining Sheffield Wednesday in July 2007 and, after three years with the Owls, he move to the Clarets on a permanent basis.
Grant’s first ever professional start for the Rams was during the side’s 0-0 draw with Forest in 2002, whilst the shot-stopper also featured in the 4-2 victory over the Reds at Pride Park, which included a controversial goal from striker Paul Peschisolido.
And after linking up with the Rams for the second time in his career, Grant admits he is relishing the prospect of featuring at the City Ground this weekend (12:15 kick-off), and says that the side want to give the Derby supporters something new to remember by ending their rivals’ unbeaten home record this season.
He told Rams Player:“I am the same as any Derby County fan really; when the fixture list comes out I look for the Nottingham Forest games home and away.
“It has come around nice and early this season and it is certainly a game that the whole squad are excited about.
“It is a huge game and I am pleased to be back here. I am looking forward to another match against our local rivals and another big occasion.
“We know that there is a lot riding on it in terms of the intensity and the size of the occasion and everything else. However, as players we have got to be mindful that we need to put that to one side and really focus on the game.
“There have been some really good highlights over the years. One that comes to mind is ‘the coffee cup incident’ at Pride Park; Pesch’s goal was a great moment that will live long in the memory. It will be nice if we can recreate some good memories on Saturday.
“One thing I remember about the City Ground is it being very noisy and the games being a really, really good occasion.
“The derby matches are always really well contested and I am pretty sure Saturday will be no different."
Meanwhile, Grant was keen to pay tribute to the Rams’ supporters that made the trip to the King Power Stadium on Tuesday evening during the side’s Capital One Cup defeat to Leicester City, and says the fans have a big part to play on Saturday at the City Ground.
He said: “The supporters that travelled to Leicester City on Tuesday night were absolutely unbelievable.
“I am not sure how many fans we took there but there was a lot of noise coming out of those guys – not only on Tuesday, but the previous away games too, they have been non-stop for 90 minutes.
“I cannot imagine them (the fans) being any different on Saturday. These are the games that you really want to win and those bragging rights will see us through until the next game at Pride Park.”
After back-to-back defeats against Reading in the SkyBet Championship and Leicester in the Capital One Cup, Grant has called on the side to put a few wrongs right.
“Saturday is an opportunity for us to right a few wrongs from the last couple of weeks and give the club a big lift," said Grant.
“It is a big game, it is one that everyone is looking forward to and it will certainly give everyone a much needed boost off the back of a couple of iffy results.
“We are not putting too much pressure on ourselves because we know we are doing things in the correct way.
“The Gaffer has shown us plenty of incidences of us doing things positively and well at home. So if we can match that up with some better decision making and possibly some steeliness in defence, then we will be fine.”
Watch Lee Grant's full pre-match interview exclusively on Rams Player.