The final home game of the season sees The Rams take on already relegated Charlton Athletic hoping to finally see off the slim threat of relegation. A win here would be enough for Nigel Clough`s side to dismiss any lingering doubts over the division they will play their football in next season although if Norwich City fail to beat Reading on Monday the result here will not matter anyway. After a decent first half against Reading on Tuesday the defensive mistakes reappeared and there was no way back into the game after Dave Kitson had given the visitors the lead.
Andy Todd is the only new injury worry after suffering from a tight hamstring on Tuesday night with the usual list of long-term absentees still unavailable the team almost picks itself again although Nacer Barazite did make a short cameo against Reading and could be involved here. It could be the last appearance at Pride Park for a number of players as Nigel Clough is rumoured to be having a big clear out in the summer and it will be interesting to see who goes. The player of the year award will be presented before the game and there isn`t a long list of candidates for the award again although Rob Hulse and Paul Green would seem to be two of the more consistent players of the season.
Charlton may have been relegated but they have hit a patch of form in recent weeks having not lost in six games and have secured draws with Birmingham City and Cardiff City in two of their last three home games, indeed it took two goals in the last ten minutes to rescue the Welsh outfit on Tuesday night. Unfortunately the upturn in fortunes was too late to save Phil Parkinson`s side and they will line-up in the third tier of English football after their 2-2 draw with Blackpool on 18th April saw them being unable to finish outside the relegation zone.
‘We were beaten by a better side, a good all-round team and an experienced side that have been together a while.”
‘It’s really irrelevant what’s happened in the last 44 games or 18 months, it’s just about Saturday now.’
Nigel Clough talking to the Radio Derby about the defeat to Reading on Saturday.
Derby County Team News:
Andy Todd is the main doubt with a tight hamstring and Chris Porter may face a late test to see if he is to be involved again.
Player to watch: Nacer Barazite
Coming to the end of his loan spell from Arsenal and returning to the squad after illness he`ll be looking to sign off on a high note and, if involved, can be a danger with his delivery from wide.
Charlton Athletic Team News:
Darren Ambrose and Jose Semedo are expected to miss out although Jonjo Shelvey could be in contention after his shoulder injury.
Player to watch: Nicky Bailey
Goal scoring midfielder who has led the line with 12 goals this season in a struggling Charlton side, signed from Southend United he looks to have the ability to make it at a higher level and is one of The Addicks’ prime assets that could raise a good fee following their relegation.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Barnsley (H) 0-0
Burnley (H) 1-1 Connolly
Cardiff City (A) 1-4 Johnson (og)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) 2-3 Kazmierczak, Sterjovski
Crystal Palace (A) 0-1
Reading (H) 0-2
Southampton (A) 3-2 Shelvey. Racon, Bailey
Birmingham City (H) 0-0
Coventry City (A) 0-0
Blackpool (H) 2-2 Burton, Shelvey
Cardiff City (H) 2-2 Shelvey. Bailey
Normally a game against bottom of the table would be considered a home banker but with The Rams` form of late and the fact that the pressure is off Charlton as they are already down this could be a nervous afternoon, expect Derby to take it 2-1 although it`s going to be close.
3rd May v Watford (Coca Cola Championship) Vicarage Road