Nottingham Forest face Derby County on Monday night in a game which has all the ingredients to be a cracker.

The Reds are unbeaten in three and will look to keep their faint play-off ambitions alive.

Frank Lampard’s outfit were defeated 1-0 by Millwall recently and tackle Forest looking to get back on track.

Reds boss Martin O’Neill is under no illusions of the size of the fixture and will know exactly what it means to supporters.

Ahead of the fixture, we looked at three battles that will decide the contest under the City Ground lights…

Ben Watson v Tom Huddlestone

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

With both of these expected to start as defensive midfielders on Monday, it is unlikely their paths will cross a great deal.

Both will be instrumental in how their team plays, however.

Watson has looked alright since returning to the fold under O’Neill, whilst Huddlestone was Derby’s best player when the two sides met in December.

Both teams will look towards these two players to start their attacks from the middle of the park and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Joe Lolley v Ashley Cole

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Lolley has looked back to his best of late and O’Neill has utilised him on the right, as opposed to the left.

Veteran Cole was a shock signing for the Rams during the January transfer window.

He scored last week at Brighton in the FA Cup and could make his first start against Forest.

Lolley will relish the chance to test himself against someone of Cole’s experience and this tussle looks set to be electric.

Jack Marriott v Alexander Milosevic

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The Swedish defender will face arguably his toughest test in coming up against Marriott.

The man who signed for the Rams from Peterborough during the summer looked very lively in the previous fixture between the sides.

Marriott hasn’t scored for the Rams since December and will be keen to get back on the goal trail on Monday.

Milosevic has looked solid since arriving in January and he will be keen to continue impressing his boss and the supporters.