McLeish: Rookie keeper Karl a safe pair of hands
ROOKIE goalkeeper Karl Darlow faces the biggest test of his career to date when he lines up for Nottingham Forest against Derby County today.
The 22-year-old made his first League start for Forest only a week ago in their home victory over Peterborough United.
Now he is set to run out in front of a 33,000 sell-out at Pride Park in the eagerly-awaited East Midlands showdown.
Forest manager Alex McLeish is confident Darlow has the makings of a fine keeper.
"All the ingredients are there," said McLeish.
"He is a good keeper. He is a confident keeper and he is at the stage of his life where he is capable.
"Blackburn have thrown in their young keeper, Jake Kean. He was released by Derby earlier in his career but it shows how, with hard work and perseverance, you can bounce back.
"Karl does not need to bounce back but he does have some catching up to do, when it comes to experience at this level.
"But when is he going to get it, if we do not give him a chance?
"Somewhere down the line, he might make a mistake.
"But we are not frightened about that and nor should he be.
"He has good presence, he is a good kicker of the ball, he commands his box, he comes for crosses well and he is a good shot-stopper."
Darlow has made 18 appearances during loan spells at Walsall and Newport County.
He was recalled from Walsall after McLeish told Forest's first-choice keeper Lee Camp he could leave.
Camp, the 28-year-old Northern Ireland international and former Rams player, is out of contract in the summer and has failed to agree a new deal.