Gary Rowett: Derby County boss rues late draw at Nottingham Forest

Gary Rowett (left) in his first match in charge of derby shakes hands with Mark Warburton, who took charge of Nottingham Forest for the first time
Gary Rowett (left) and Mark Warburton were put in charge of Derby and Nottingham Forest respectively on Tuesday, just four days before the East Midlands derby at the City Ground

Derby manager Gary Rowett says being denied victory by Nottingham Forest in his first game in charge has altered his outlook on reaching the play-offs.

Daniel Pinillos' late equaliser for Forest ensured they avoided slipping into the drop zone, in what was also Mark Warburton's first game in charge.

The 2-2 draw left Derby 10th, nine points adrift of the top six.

Asked if he was thinking about the play-offs, Rowett said: "We might have been apart from that last-minute goal."

The former Birmingham and Burton boss, 43, continued: "I don't think any of that is really relevant in some ways. For us, it's just about winning as many games as we can win.

"Until we mathematically can't get in them, of course we are still targeting that.

"For me it is about finishing the season with momentum, wherever that takes us, and it is about learning what we need to do so we can make critical decisions moving forward. But I was pretty pleased with what I saw as a whole."

Daniel Pinillos celebrates Nottingham Forest's equaliser
Daniel Pinillos celebrates Nottingham Forest's equaliser

The point at the City Ground meant Derby have picked up just seven points from a possible 30 since 31 January, a run which saw Steve McClaren sacked from his second spell at the club after just five months back at the helm.

Forest had gone ahead inside five minutes, with Zach Clough catching Derby's defence unawares to prod home.

And while Derby struggled to create a meaningful first-half chance, they were ruthless after the break with two goals in six second-half minutes from Matej Vyrdra and David Nugent.

Both sides had a number of opportunities, with Reds goalkeeper Jordan Smith making a string of saves, before Pinillos secured a draw between the East Midlands' two newest managers.

"I'm happy in some ways that we are saying that we are disappointed because we have lost the chance to win the game in the last minute against our local rivals away from home," Rowett told BBC Radio Derby. "I see that as a huge positive."

Warburton also said he was "never happy to drop two points" after his side went ahead and controlled the first half, only to have to battle back to salvage a draw.

"We absolutely deserved a point, the first half alone deserved a point," he told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"It was important to take something out of the game of such significance, it means a lot to the fans and a lot to the players. It is a huge local derby."

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