Gary Rowett has called on Derby County’s supporters to raise the roof and play an instrumental role in this weekend’s local derby clash against Nottingham Forest.
The two old rivals will go head-to-head at Pride Park Stadium on Sunday (15th October, 1:15pm kick-off) for the first time this season in the Sky Bet Championship.
With another packed crowd expected for the big game, Rowett says the Rams fans have a big part to play as Derby look to claim a third successive home victory against the Reds and retain the Brian Clough Trophy.
Rowett, 43, oversaw a 2-2 draw at the City Ground back in March in his first game as Derby boss – but he is now relishing the prospect of being in the dugout at Pride Park in the latest instalment of the East Midlands derby.
He told RamsTV: “We are desperate to win the game for the fans more than anything else.
“We understand the bragging rights and the way it works for both sets of supporters. You want the game to be played in the right spirit and with the right type of attitude; that goes without saying.
“In these types of games, having that support can make a massive and unbelievable difference.”
He added: “Even if the team are not doing as well as they would like, it’s really important that we get that support – but we also have to produce a level of performance that represent the passion they want to see to get that backing.
“We need to be together on this one day and do everything we can to win. I have played in these games, watched them and managed in them now – so I’m really looking forward to my first one at Pride Park.”
Rowett has openly admitted that his Derby side have not been as consistent as he would have liked so far this term.
Back-to-back league wins have been racked up just once this season, in early August, against Preston North End and Bolton Wanderers.
He hopes that a victory against the Reds could provide the spark that his side needs to embark on a positive run of form.
He added: “These games have a great atmosphere and the type of game that, as much as you want to win it, you certainly don’t want to lose it either.
“That’s without being negative, of course, because that brings pressure on any manager because of the magnitude of the game. He will certainly go out and be positive.
“Both teams are in a similar scenario and have been inconsistent so far this season. I think ourselves and Forest have looking for that moment to kick-start our seasons I suppose.”
Rowett has a great deal of respect and admiration for his opposite number at the City Ground, Mark Warburton.
Prior to taking over at Forest earlier this year he achieved a promotion to the Championship and then a play-off finish in the second tier at Brentford, before guiding Rangers back to the Scottish top flight.
However, come Sunday lunchtime, Rowett will be looking to get one over the 55-year-old.
He said: “I have a healthy respect for Mark and I have spoken to him on numerous occasions.
“I’ve come across him when we’ve been on courses together and I have also faced him and his teams many times before.
“He is good guy and come Sunday lunchtime we will desperately trying to get the better of each other; it will be game-on but respectful.”