The Rams play host to the Championship leaders in one of the biggest fixtures of the season. The division’s two best supported sides meet on the back of recent good form, with The Magpies three points clear of second place, and The Rams claiming four points in two games against two play-off contenders.
Rams skipper Robbie Savage was pleased with the performance against Sheffield United and hopes the side can maintain their recent good performance levels: ‘I thought we deserved to win the game on our first-half performance,’ he said. ‘We were magnificent in the first half and should have easily been two or three goals up by half-time. The fact that we weren’t has cost us.
‘That is the most I have seen us control a game and, in fact, I think we played better than we did against Forest.
‘It does feel like a loss, to be honest, but make no mistake, we can take a lot of positives from this because it was a magnificent away performance.
‘If we can get on the front foot against Newcastle like we have done in the past couple of weeks, we will have a hell of a chance against them.’
Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton is keen to win as many games as possible between now and the end of the season, and sees the trip to Pride Park as a chance to do so: “That has to be the approach because West Brom and Forest`s form has been that good, they have both looked that good that you can only think about yourselves.”
“The moment you start thinking about other things, you are taking your mind off the game you should be playing.”
“The game you should be playing is, however you do it, to try to win as many games as you can and get as many points as you can.”
Derby County Team News:
Dave Martin could feature for Derby if the winger’s proposed loan deal from Millwall comes through in time. Lee Croft could return to the squad after a hamstring injury and Steve Davies remains sidelined.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Commons hit top form against Sheffield United and drew praise from the manager. Newcastle United were one of the teams rumoured to be in for the ex-Forest man.
Newcastle United Team News:
Newcastle captain Alan Smith will return to the squad after a thigh injury. Nicky Butt and Fabricio Coloccini are potentially sidelined with the pair struggling to overcome niggles.
Player to watch: Ryan Taylor
His set-pieces were superb against us in the fixture against The Magpies earlier in the season. The ex-Wigan man’s defending skills are excellent.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Sheffield United 7(a) 1-1
Nottingham Forest (h) 1-0
Plymouth Argyle (a) 0-1
Doncaster Rovers (h) 1-0
Peterborough United (a) 3-0
Last 5: Newcastle United
Cardiff City (h) 5-1
Leicester City (a) 0-0
Crystal Palace (h) 2-0
West Brom (a) 2-4
West Brom (h) 2-2
Derby County vs. Birmingham City, Saturday 13 February 2010 15:00, The F.A. Cup