Bristol City visit Pride Park Stadium undefeated in four matches and full of confidence after a start which saw them lose only one league game: away against Cardiff City, The Rams` next fixture on Tuesday night. Gary Johnson`s side reached the Play-Offs in the 07/08 season, but were defeated but now Premier League Hull City thanks to a Dean Windass goal. The Robins only finished 10th last year, but Gary Johnson believes his side can push on and achieve a similar finish to that of two seasons ago. The Rams were undefeated against Bristol last season, earning a 1-1 away draw in the second league game of the campaign, before securing a somewhat fortuitous victory at home later in the season. This will be a tough game for Nigel Clough`s side, but after four defeats on the spin, a result will have to come from somewhere, and Rams fans will be hoping to put an end to Bristol City`s unbeaten streak.
Nigel Clough is frustrated with his side`s fortunes at present, and doesn`t feel his side are too far away from where they want to be. The Rams are on a poor run of form, but Clough has seen it all before at Burton Albion: ‘We have been through such runs at Burton,’ said the Derby manager ahead of tomorrow’s clash, ‘I don’t know specifically if we lost four or five on the trot or whatever at Burton but it was one of those where, if we believe what we are doing is right, then things will change.’ added Clough, speaking to the Derby Evening Telegraph “If we were getting thrashed 3-0 and 4-0, we would tear the book up and start again and say ‘hold on a minute, we are a million miles away here’. But we don’t feel that is the case so we will keep doing what we think is right. We will adjust one or two things, try and work a little bit harder and just try to cut out the mistakes, even the half mistakes we are getting punished for at the moment.’
Gary Johnson, the Bristol City boss, isn`t expecting the game to be a defensive-minded one. He told the club’s official website: ‘They’ve got some good forwards and they’ve got a decent side there but we’ve got to make sure we go there with confidence. I think it will be an open game, we don’t particularly go to places to sit back and defend, we go to win games.’
Bristol City midfielder Paul Hartley is relishing going up against Robbie Savage in a central midfield battle, something he hasn`t done in his 400+ appearance career. Speaking to the Bristol Evening Post Hartley said: ‘I haven’t played against Robbie before. I have watched him over the years and it is obvious that he is a quality player. He is a known competitor and it will be a tough battle. It is the sort of battle you relish; coming up against good players and pitting your wits against them.”
Derby County Team News:
Long term absentees Chris Porter and Giles Barnes are still on the sidelines, and fellow forward Steve Davies is also still out, joining Jake Buxton and Paul Green on the injury list. Dean Leacock is set to continue in defence, and James Vaughan is expected to make his home debut having started the game against Palace at the weekend.
Player to watch: Dean Leacock
One of the only players to come out of the Premiership season with any credit, Dean enjoyed a decent return to action on Saturday against Crystal Palace after a ten month layoff. He will need to show his quality to keep City front man Nicky Maynard quiet.
Bristol City Team News:
Transfer listed keeper Adriano Basso will play as a result of an illness suffered by first choice stopper Dean Gerken. Defender Louis Carey could feature at Pride Park after a knee injury.
Player to watch: Nicky Maynard
The striker has been in excellent goal-scoring form this season with five league goals already. He scored against The Rams at Bristol last season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Crystal Palace (a) 0-1
Barnsley (h) 2-3
Sheffield United (h) 0-1
Nottingham Forest (a) 2-3
Plymouth Argyle (h) 2-1
Last 5: Bristol City
Scunthorpe United (h) 1-1
Swansea City (a) 0-0
Coventry City (a) 1-1
Middlesbrough (h) 2-1
Carlisle (h) 0-2
Cardiff City vs. Derby County, Tuesday 29 September 2009 19:45, The Coco-Cola Football League Championship