The Rams home game against Everton is heading for a sell out and one of the major attractions on Sunday will be the return to the starting line up of 19-year-old Giles Barnes. Rams boss Billy Davies is ready to unleash Barnes as Derby County go in search of their second victory of the season.
Barnes, who is fit again after a foot injury, impressed as a substitute in Saturday’s goalless draw at Craven Cottage, and was twice denied a winning goal by the heroics of Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi.
The England under 19`s player was injured in the Championship play-off final at Wembley in May and has yet to start this season, but solid performances as substitute in each of the last four Premier League games has convinced the Rams boss he is ready for a recall.
‘I was very tempted to start him at Fulham but I felt he was just one more game away – now he is ready,’ said the Rams manager.
‘He’s had enough minutes on the pitch and showed at Fulham he can provide pace, power and a goal threat.
‘He’s looking much more like himself. He came on against Fulham and almost scored with a header and then had a great strike from the edge of the box.
‘Your eyes are your judge and he has been looking sharper and brighter in training.
‘He’s very much in my thoughts and can be a key player for us this season,’ added Davies.
The youngster has been linked to a move to West Ham in the January transfer window but he is determined to help the Rams away from the relegation zone.
He will start his 50th game for Derby if he lines up against Everton at Pride Park Stadium on Sunday, and it will give Davies the luxury of using the 19-year-old in a number of positions – up front, wide or pushing on from midfield.