Wayne Rooney is looking forward to tasting an East Midlands derby with supporters for the first time on Saturday when Derby County host Nottingham Forest.
Derby will welcome the Reds to Pride Park Stadium in their final Sky Bet Championship fixture before the first international break of the 2021/22 season (12:30pm kick-off).
The last three meetings between the clubs, which coincidentally have finished in 1-1 draws, have been played behind-closed-doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lack of atmosphere is set to change when the clubs meet this weekend in an East Midlands derby on home turf in front of a crowd for the first time since December 2018.
Rooney wants his side to maintain their steady start to the season by picking up three points against their local rivals.
Derby have recorded a win and two draws from their opening four league matches and the Rams’ boss wants to go into the two-week break on a high note.
“I said after the Sheffield United game that I can’t wait,” Rooney told RamsTV. “I think it’s a match where the pressure is on Nottingham Forest to win. On us, we are going to try and take the game to them.
“We want to win the game and if we do then I think we can say that we have had a great start to the season.
“It will leave Forest on zero points so we will be doing everything we can to win.
“It will be nice if we do that because the lads will have a few days off and I’m sure they will enjoy that during the international break.”
He added: “We know it is a big game. There is local pride at stake and the players will be ready for it come 12:30pm on Saturday and they will do everything to win.”
Rooney believes the Rams’ supporters will have a key role to play in the local derby.
He knows, as they have been all season so far, that the Derby fans will be backing their side to the hilt.
“The fans are so important,” he said. “I thought at the last home match they were excellent against Middlesbrough and really got behind the players and it gave them a lift.
“I have no worries on Saturday that the fans will be right behind the team. They will have great support for us and hopefully we can get the three points.”