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Nottingham Forest decline still evident as Chris Hughton grabs Derby lifeline

The Reds sealed their first point of the Championship campaign with a 1-1 draw against rivals Derby County but the pressure on boss Hughton remains

Chris Hughton is under huge pressure at Forest

It might not have been a fifth consecutive defeat, but Chris Hughton will be under no illusions.

The Nottingham Forest manager is under huge pressure and the 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Derby County this lunchtime at least stopped the rot for now.

Forest hadn’t lost in eight previous meetings with their arch-rivals Derby County, but their form going into this latest bout was simply woeful.

Four defeats from four in the league, and their only win of the season came in an EFL Cup game against Bradford – and that was on penalties.

The rotten run isn’t just limited to this season either. They didn’t win any of their last six games of the previous campaign.

Add it together and 11 winless outings mean Hughton’s position is hanging by a thread at a club that has wielded the axe in far less perilous positions than this before.

The Reds look rudderless and void of ideas when it comes to the final third.

They threatened a few times in the early exchanges here, with Philip Zinckernagel looking lively and Lyle Taylor passing up a gilt-edged chance.

And that profligacy, as it has often this season, ended up costing them when Tom Lawrence lashed home superbly after 11 minutes.

They were once again chasing a game and in truth rarely looked like getting back into it. That was until Brennan Johnson, a player who could be on his way out of the club before Tuesday’s deadline, fired an effort that Kelle Roos couldn’t keep out.

The clash between Derby and Forest was typically frenetic

It was a fortuitous effort that Roos should really have stopped, but Forest’s fans didn’t care. It was a huge let-off for Hughton but it merely papers over the cracks for now.

Forest, as their fans regularly and proudly sing about, have two European Cups in the City Ground trophy cabinet but are once again facing up to the ignominy of third division football for the second time in their history.

This is their 14th season in the Championship but the longer this wretched run goes on the more that record will be under massive threat.

Tom Lawrence scored the opener for the Rams

We might not yet be into September but if ever there was an ideal time for Forest’s owners to make a change, it is surely with a blank fortnight in store due to the upcoming international break.

As for Derby, the build-up to this game was dominated by talk of their ongoing legal wrangle with the EFL.

The truth is that County are running out of time as they desperately look to bolster the ranks.

Their squad looks woefully short in terms of depth. A glance at the teamsheet for today’s game showed four rookies on the bench.

The problem was highlighted perfectly when Rooney admitted earlier this week that an under-23s match had to be shelved because he was low on numbers.

But on the evidence so far he has a more than capable starting XI.

Lawrence’s strike was a superb hit and Ravel Morrison again caught the eye. If Rooney can continue to coax as much as possible out of individual match-winners like those two, then he has half a chance of keeping County up, against all odds.

Forest fans can only wish for a similar, positive outlook right now.

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