In addition to the existing rivalry between the two clubs, the match will be billed as a last chance for Pearce in the face of Forest's slide down the table and run of only two wins in twenty games, especially as last season's corresponding clash spelled the end of the Billy Davies era.
The manager himself will know the importance of the fixture to the travelling fans but, however much that transmits itself to his players, the current gap between the two sides means Derby will be clear favourites to take all three points.
So, will that mean a change in emphasis from the Reds? One that prioritises keeping a clean sheet above all else?
When Forest have been good this season they have often been very good but the long haul of the Championship can require settling for a point from a tight, scrappy game and the Reds have not done that enough.
The experience of Andy Reid has been badly missed and the midfielder remains sidelined although Henri Lansbury is available after suspension and new loan signing Gary Gardner also comes into contention for a midfield place.