Doncaster Rovers are the visitors to Pride Park Stadium to try to beat Derby like they did on the first game of last season. It was Doncaster’s first game in The Championship having been promoted from League One through the play-offs, and Paul Jewell’s Derby side had just ben relegated from the top tier of English football. Times have changed and Nigel Clough is now at the helm, and with both teams in good form, this should be an interesting encounter. Donny have suffered only one defeat in the last five, against in form Forest, and they have won the other four. Derby are four unbeaten and having picked up their first away win of the season last week in Watford, confidence will be flooding through the side.
For practically the first time this season, Nigel Clough has real options up front. With Rob Hulse, Chris Porter, Paul Dickov and DJ Campbell available, he has in form and good strikers at his disposal.
‘Having strikers to choose from is a nice problem to have, we have not had such a problem this season,’ said manager Nigel Clough, ‘We saw the benefits of having strikers available last week at Watford and we’ll keep seeing the benefits.’ Dickov and Campbell played just over an hour at Watford before they were replaced by substitutes Porter and Steve Davies. ‘It was great to have that option and you have to think how it makes the opposition feel when you can make such changes,’ said Clough, ‘Other teams can do it to us and have done this season. Ipswich brought on fresh strikers when we played them at Portman Road and all of a sudden they looked a bit more lively. That’s a good example of how it can work.’
Clough’s opposite number Sean O’Driscoll is looking for a second Donny win at Pride Park in two years.
‘It brings back some memories. It seems like a really long time ago to be fair,’ said O’Driscoll in his pre-match press conference. ‘We’re on a decent run at the moment, though and if we can go there and get the same result as the last time we were there, then we will be delighted. It seems as though we are preparing ourselves for the same sort of game as Bristol City. They had a good win against Watford, who themselves had beat QPR quite convincingly on the television, so that just sums up this league. Again, watching the game, we thought that Derby were organised; whether they will put in a winger or two for a home game – we’re not sure. They are very organised, very hard to beat and they are on a decent run themselves. Again, it looks like it is going to be a very tight game.’
Derby County Team News:
The Rams have been given a boost with the news that Striker Rob Hulse and defender Dean Leacock are available for selection for the game on Saturday having resumed full training. Kris Common joins them on the training pitch, but will not be with the squad as he is still not match fit. Sahun Barker and Miles Addison still sit out and on-loan defender Fredrik Stoor is sidelined with an ankle problem.
Player to watch: Chris Porter
The big striker from Wigan is proving his goal scoring capabilities for Derby, with four goals in eight appearances for The Rams. If selected, and if he manages to string together a number of games, we should see him at his best.
Doncaster Rovers Team News:
Donny manager Shaun O’Driscoll has no fresh injury concerns for the trip to Pride Park. He is without Martin Woods, Steve Brooker and Quinton Fortune out with long-term injuries.
Player to watch: Billy Sharp
The diminutive striker on loan from Sheffield United has netted nine times in 14 appearances for Rovers this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Watford (a) 1-0
Preston North End (a) 0-0
West Brom (h) 2-2
Reading (h) 2-1
Swansea City (a) 0-1
Coventry City (h) 2-1
Doncaster Rovers: Last 5
Bristol City (h) 1-0
Sheffield Wednesday (h) 1-0
Crystal Palace (a) 3-0
Nottingham Forest (a) 1-4
QPR (h) 2-0
Derby County vs. Blackpool, Saturday 26 December 2009 15:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship