The Rams have the chance to regain the lead in the Championship tonight with victory at Carrow Road, the home of Norwich City. It`s not been a happy hunting ground for the Rams over the years and it would be a great time to end that tonight.
Norwich sit in 16th position in the league at present but they produced two great performances on the road over the past fortnight, a 3-2 victory at Kenilworth Road against Luton Town and 3-1 win against Lewin Nyatanga`s Barnsley at Oakwell. First half goals from Darren Huckerby, Lee Croft, and Chris Martin were enough for Peter Grants side. The team for the game was:
Norwich: Warner, Hughes, Doherty, Shackell, Drury, Croft, Safri, Fotheringham, Lappin, Martin, Huckerby.
Subs: Lewis, McVeigh, Chadwick, Colin, Etuhu
It`s also a big game for Rams striker Steve Howard, the £1m signing from Luton Town was a target of the Canaries, but they were outbid by Derby County in the summer.
Norwich chairman Roger Munby reportedly said the 30-year-old had gone for an amount of money ‘well beyond his worth, in our view’. But, with 15 goals so far this season, Howard has proved good value and he is looking forward to showing Norwich they missed a trick in choosing not to sign him.
‘I nearly went to Norwich,’ said Howard.
‘Their chairman said he’d thought £1m was too much for me and the just before (previous manager) Nigel Worthington got the sack he said maybe Norwich should have paid the extra money for me.
‘It’s nice that they were interested but I’ve got a chance to show them that they’ve missed out.’
Vital Pre-Match Quotes:
Billy Davies knows it won’t be an easy ride in East Anglia, he said: “It will be another tough match, but any away game is a tough one.
“Again they have got lots to play for as they are fighting tooth and nail to try and drag themselves away from the bottom end.
“We have got to continue with this good run of form over the last number of weeks and hopefully continue picking up the points.’
With the business end of the season at hand the long trip to Norwich is a long and gruelling one, so Derby are flying down this morning and Davies says gaining extra recovery time ahead of Friday night’s clash with Birmingham City is vital. He added: “We are very concerned about the recovery time between Tuesday and Friday.
“So the quicker we can get back the better it will be for us to get back on the training ground on Thursday, get the legs moving again, and get ready for the Friday match.”
Norwich boss Peter Grant is looking forward to the challenge of taking on Billy Davies’ promotion-chasing Rams at Carrow Road. He said: “They are an exciting team, with the likes of Lupoli from Arsenal and Giles Barnes and others. We know what we are up against, but we have good players as well.
“We are looking forward to it, it’s a great test, Friday they went top of the league and the run of results they are on has been fantastic, great consistency.”
He added: “They have been able to win a lot of games 1-0, they have either been scoring early or late in the game and being able to hold on to it and that’s a fantastic trait to have. They got their just rewards for that period because they were the most consistent in the league.”
Norwich City Team News:
Norwich striker Chris Martin will have a late fitness test after picking up an ankle knock against Barnsley.
Defender Jason Shackell suffered from dizziness in the second half at Oakwell but should be fit to play. Meanwhile veteran Dion Dublin remains a doubt for the match despite continuing his recovery from a calf strain
Player to watch: Darren Huckerby
Has scored five goals in the last eight games for Norwich and has filled the void left by the injury to leading goal scorer Robert Earnshaw. The Rams will have a makeshift centre back partnership and the 30-year-old will hope to benefit from that.
Derby County Team News:
Derby will be without Michael Johnson who could face up to six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury against Colchester.
Rams boss Billy Davies could be forced into recalling Dean Leacock, who is still thought to be lacking match fitness. There were also reports Lewin Nyatanga would be recalled from his loan spell at Barnsley. Stephen Pearson is also in doubt with an ankle injury.
Player to watch: Steve Howard
The big striker was close to signing for Norwich, but chose the Rams instead. He has found the net on 15 occasions, and will want to show the Norwich Chairman Roger Munby was wrong when he said the £1m was too much for the 30-year-old.
Match Facts & Stats
Norwich`s last six games
CC – Barnsley A – Won 3-1
CC – Luton A – W 3-2
CC – Coventry H – D 1-1
CC – Preston A – L 1-2
FA Cup – Chelsea A – L 0-4
FA Cup – Blackpool H – W 3-2
Last time at Carrow Road
Coca-Cola Championship Saturday February 18 2006
Norwich City 2 Derby County 0
Norwich – Green, Fleming, Rehman, Doherty, Drury, Johansson (McVeigh 74), Safri, Hughes (Robinson 34), Huckerby, Thorne (McKenzie 77), Earnshaw
Subs not used – Gallacher, Colin
Derby – Camp, Edworthy, Moore, Hajto, Kenna, Smith, Idiakez, Holmes (Peschisolido 71), Bolder, Barnes, Graham
Subs not used – Poole, Bisgaard, Doyle, Nyatanga
Past four Meetings at Carrow Road
Norwich 2 – Johansson, Huckerby
Norwich 2 – Roberts, Mulryne
Derby 1 – Taylor
Norwich 1 – Mackay
Norwich 1 – Goss
It will be closer than the league positions the two clubs hold at present –
I`ll go for – Norwich City 1 Derby County 2