It's the big one! - 19/10/2002

It's the big one!
Over there!

Itís Forest on Sunday, and everyone at the club knows how important this is to the fans. Iíve played in some big derbyís before, but although there wonít be 50,000 at Pride Park, itís still going to be a cracking atmosphere. Unfortunately Iím still suspended, but Iíll be in the changing rooms and still feeling all the emotions! I tell you, sitting in the stands is even more nerve racking than playing in the big games. You canít influence what happens on the pitch and you find yourself in a helpless situation. When youíre playing itís different, OK you get the pre-match build up, but when the ref blows his whistle you just get on with it Ė youíre that focused on the game that donít notice the nerves and adrenalin. The fact that Sky are covering the match just helps to build it up further. I know a lot of proís will say that derby matches are Ďjust another gameí but theyíre not! We know what it means for the fans to turn in for work on Monday with a victory behind them. We feel the atmosphereÖand weíll do everything we can to get the three points.

The up side of my suspension is that itís given me a break, fourteen games in six weeks is quite a demand on your body. Iíd been carrying a few minor niggles Ė to my knee and ankle, but theyíve had a chance to recover and hopefully Iíll feel the benefit both immediately and possibly later on in the season. I canít say Iíve enjoyed not playing, but at least the rest will do me good. Rest is what Branko Strupar needs, heíll be out for around 6 months so we hope to see him playing before the season is out. Thereís only one downside to football and thatís injuries, Brankoís had a difficult time and we wish him all the best. Heís going back to Croatia to recuperate, a lot of the foreign lads like to do this as they can spend time in their own culture and Iím sure it helps. Nevertheless, weíre looking forward to seeing him back at Pride Park.

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