The Rams are looking to bounce back from the disappointment of going out of the cup by beating Preston North End.
Performances have been superb in recent weeks and all against big Championship teams and Premier League opposition in Birmingham, so on current form, Nigel Clough’s team should be odds-on favourites to emerge victorious. However, the main accusation aimed towards Derby has been their inability to perform against the so-called ‘smaller’ teams so the visit of PNE should provide The Rams with a chance to answer their critics.
Derby skipper Savage believes that The Rams can push on and go clear of the relegation places if they carry on in the rich vein of form they are currently enjoying. He told the club’s website: ‘We can take a lot of positives from this; we were excellent again against a Premier League side.
‘Now we really must start producing against the so called lesser teams.
Tuesday night is a massive game for us, if we can perform like we have been doing of late then we have a great chance.
‘Everyone can see we are playing with confidence right now and it is important we keep doing that.’
Tommy Williams has arrived at Preston with bold words and wants to get stuck in straight away after his loan move from Peterborough: ‘I really hate losing!’ The 29-year-old admitted. ‘I’m very pleased to be here (at Preston); I jumped at the chance and I can’t wait to get started, with two massive games in a week.
‘I spoke to a few of the lads and it is a squad that is determined and definitely has the ability to make the Play-Offs, we have seen that in the last couple of years. And with 16 games still to play this season, there are lots of points to pick up and we’ll see where we can take it.’
Derby County Team News:
Nigel Clough wants to name the same side which has started the last three games.
He may get his wish, but Stephen Pearson and Jake Buxton are both struggling with rib injuries.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Commons has been in excellent form recently and tied top-flight opposition in knots on Saturday. He is working hard and proving his doubters wrong.
Preston North End Team News:
Tommy Williams should make his PNE debut after the left-back signed for The Lilywhites on-loan from Peterborough.
Midfielders Paul Parry and Richard Chaplow are both out.
Player to watch: Andy Lonergan
Goalkeeper Lonergan has been in very good form for many season’s for Preston and has long been tipped for a move to the Premier League.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Newcastle United (h) 3-0
Sheffield United (a) 1-1
Nottingham Forest (h) 1-0
Plymouth Argyle (a) 0-1
Doncaster Rovers (h) 1-0
Last 5: Preston North End
Blackpool (h) 0-0
Sheffield United (h) 2-1
Swansea City (a) 0-2
Barnsley (h) 1-4
Ipswich Town (h) 2-0
Derby County vs. Swansea City, Saturday 20 February 2010 15:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship