Date: 12th March 2008 at 10:50am
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Chelsea v Rams – Preview

The Rams head to capital tonight to take on Avram Grant`s third placed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (8pm).

The Rams will hope for a better result than the last time they played in London against a top of the table team on Saturday, 22 September 2007 when they were thrashed 5-0 at Arsenal.

Rams boss Paul Jewell says the game at Chelsea is the perfect chance for his players to prove they deserve to be at Derby County next season.

The Rams also face Sir Alex Ferguson`s Manchester United on Saturday and Jewell told BBC Radio Derby it is a test they should relish.

Jewell says he fully expects Chelsea to be back on their game and eager to prove the FA Cup defeat against Barnsley was a blip.

‘I want the players to go out and to say ‘I want to be here’,’ he said.

‘I’ve made up my mind about some people already but there is always a chance for people to say ‘I want to be here and I’m good enough to be here’.’

“Great teams bounce back,’ Jewell said.

‘We have to play really well and they have to have an off day. If we play well and they play well we know we will get beat.

‘But we want to go and give them a game. We can’t compete with them man for man but we can work even harder than them and that’s what we have to do.’

Rams chairman of football Adam Pearson says Pride Park will be a hive of activity in the summer as they prepare for life in the Championship and the coach will have his full backing.

He told BBC Radio Derby: ‘There will be six or seven each way. We will re-shape the squad quite significantly.

‘That’s why it’s important for the players to respond between now and the end of the season.’

In Rams team news skipper Robbie Savage could be in line for a Derby recall, while Dean Leacock could also return from a hip problem.

There is two defiantly out of the side Giles Barnes, who is out for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury and forward Craig Fagan has joined Hull on loan until the end of the season.

In Chelsea team news they must decide whether to recall midfielder Frank Lampard and striker Didier Drogba after the Barnsley game. Defiantly out is goalkeeper Petr Cech with his ankle problem.

Chelsea boss Grant is hoping his side can bouncing back from the shock FA Cup defeat. He said: “The players were very hurt – it was embarrassing losing a game like that.

‘I know that at Chelsea every loss is a crisis but it’s not like that.

‘We are a team; we win as a team and lose as a team. We want to fight for the titles. That’s why we’re here.’

Squads
Chelsea
(from): Cudicini, Hilario, Ferreira, Belletti, Terry, Carvalho, Ben-Haim, Alex, Bridge, A Cole, Lampard, Essien, Makelele, Sidwell, Ballack, Obi, J Cole, Pizarro, Shevchenko, Drogba, Kalou, Wright-Phillips, Malouda, Anelka.

Derby (from): Carroll, Leacock, Moore, Todd, Stubbs, McEveley, Lewis, Edworthy, Savage, Pearson, Jones, Miller, Earnshaw, Ghaly, Villa, Robert, Price, Sterjovski.

Referee – Chris Foy (St Helens, Merseyside)

 

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