After the late late show against Burnley The Rams take on another side with ambitions at the top of the table as they visit south Wales to take on Cardiff City in a re-arranged game that was Nigel Clough`s first in charge before being postponed back in January. Derby have only won once in six matches but they have also only lost once during this run and they are showing their growing resilience in grabbing results when things are going against them. They currently sit 17th in the table, six points clear of the dropzone, and have games in hand on those teams around them in their quest to secure safety.
Nigel Clough still believes Derby need another win to feel safe and a nine point gap with five games to go for the teams below them would surely see The Rams being able to prepare for next season. Rob Hulse has been asked to play through the pain in the quest for points and Kris Commons may also face a late test before a decision is made on. Chris Porter is out so Tito Villa may be in line for a start if leading scorer Hulse is ruled out. Jay McEveley has had no adverse reaction after his return to the side although a late decision may also be needed to see if Stephen Pearson will continue in central midfield.
Cardiff City are sixth in the table, two points ahead of seventh but with a game in hand on the teams around them. A full blooded Welsh derby against Swansea ended 2-2 on Sunday after some late drama saw Joe Allen look to have given his side three points with a snap-shot two minutes from time only for an injury time Ross McCormack penalty to snatch a point for the home side. They have been the hardest side to beat in the Championship this season with only seven league defeats from thirty-nine games and only their propensity to draw games away from home has seen them fail to challenge for automatic promotion with eleven draws on their travels so far this season.
“The gaffer went three at the back in the last five minutes and told me to go right wing and try to get on the back stick.”
“The ball went to Emanuel Villa, he laid it to Gary Teale and it was one of those where you know it is going to come to your head.”
“I crept in round the back and it came right to me, so I was absolutely buzzing.”
Paul Connolly talking to the Derby Evening Telegraph about his late equaliser against Burnley.
Cardiff City Team News:
Gabor Gyepes returns after one game suspension, no major injury worries ahead of this encounter.
Player to watch: Ross McCormack
Joined Cardiff in the summer after purported Premiership interest and has been a massive hit in Wales this season. Leading scorer with 17 goals so far and has forced his way into the Scotland squad picking up his first goal against Iceland last week.
Derby County Team News:
Nigel Clough has concerns on the fitness of Kris Commons and Stephen Pearson who have recently returned from injury and Rob Hulse who only returned to training the day before the Burnley game.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Good news for Clough with his return to side, gives The Rams something different going forward and links the midfield with the forward line in his position just off Rob Hulse. Looked tired in the second half against Burnley but certainly has the quality to change the game with one touch.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Norwich City (A) 0-2
Bristol City (H) 1-1 McCormack
Watford (H) 2-1 Bothroyd, McCormack
Sheffield United (H) 0-3
Swansea City (H) 2-2 Chopra, McCormack
Bristol City (H) 2-1 Porter, Hulse
Southampton (A) 1-1 Davies
Sheffield United (A) 2-4 Hulse, Bannan
Barnsley (H) 0-0
Burnley (H) 1-1 Connolly
Both sides scored late goals at the weekend so look for possible fireworks in the last 10 minutes here (if not later!). Another solid performance will see The Rams continuing to edge to safety after a 1-1 draw.
13th April v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Coca Cola Championship) Pride Park