The Rams are winless in five matches and have collected just 13 points from their first 10 Championship games, while Forest are two places and two points ahead, having played a game more.
The opportunity Saturday's match provides to leapfrog a rival and kickstart a season that is beginning to stagnate is not lost on the ex-Birmingham City boss.
“When you are in the situation both teams are in, I think every result is a springboard to kick on,” Rowett said on a Facebook Live interview with Sky Bet.
"Every time we have had a good result we have felt mentally that it was our chance to kick on, but then we have had a poor result.
"It’s a local derby. We know how important it is and if we can win this game it will give us more confidence and kudos with everyone and give us a platform.
"It’s only a platform, though. It’s one game, it’s our next game and we need wins to back up some of the other good work we are doing."