Derby host Red Dragons in FA Cup
On Saturday the hustle and bustle of the Championship is replaced by the excitement of the FA Cup with ‘League Two side’ Wrexham the visitors to Pride Park (3pm) for the third round clash
Will Billy Davies change the team against lower league opposition – I don’t think so!! The Rams boss has already insisted this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Wrexham won’t mean any let-up in his bid to keep a winning mentality in his squad.
Derby host Wrexham, after returning to second spot in the Coca-Cola Championship thanks to a 2-1 win at Preston North End on New Year’s Day. They will be favourites for the third round encounter but the gaffer says they won’t be letting their work-rate drop.
The Red Dragons sit perilously close to the relegation zone in league two, and the former Stoke City great Denis Smith is the coach of the Welsh club and says their League worries will overshadow the Cup match against the Rams. They lost 3-1 at home to fellow strugglers Accrington Stanley on New Year’s Day, which leaves the Dragons just two points above the League Two relegation zone.
Smith said: ‘To be perfectly honest the Cup matches are all very nice but in the end the League is the important part. ‘If we have a little a bit of glory in the FA Cup then great, but our main priority is to remain in the League.’
In round two the Dragons visited League One side Scunthorpe and came away with a 2-0 victory, Mark Jones and Kevin Smith on target, and they will be looking for another cup scalp at Pride Park.
The Red Dragons have a history of cup upsets and the Rams will have to be at their best to get the result and a fourth round tie. In 1992 Wrexham produced arguably their greatest ever piece of giant-killing when they knocked the previous year’s League Champions Arsenal out of the FA Cup with goals from Steve Watkin and Mickey Thomas. That continued in 1997, when the club reached the quarter finals of the Cup.
Derby – “It’s not a rest,” Davies said when asked for his thoughts on a break in Championship action. He added: “We have got to keep that winning mentality up and are looking forward to a tough cup match.
“Wrexham will come here and get a huge lift from the place, from the stadium and facilities we have.
“We have got to be ready for the match and make sure we put a lot of work into it.”
Wrexham – Denis Smith said:’To be perfectly honest the Cup matches are all very nice but in the end the League is the important part. ‘If we have a little a bit of glory in the FA Cup then great, but our main priority is to remain in the League.’
Derby County Team News:
The Rams will go into the game almost injury free, only Paul Boertien (knee), and a few niggling injuries to David Jones and Mark Edworthy are a concern, but Billy Davies will have a solid squad to choice from
Player to watch: Steve Howard
The big striker found his goal scoring touch last week at Preston and on form will be a big handful for the Red Dragons defence
Wrexham Team News:
Danny Williams is set to return to the Wrexham side after missing successive defeats over the New Year weekend with illness. Smith also hopes to have striker Juan Ugarte back from injury after missing the last four games. Missing for the clash will be 19-year-old striker Kevin Smith, who has returned to Sunderland after his two month loan deal and Lee Roche who is suspended.
Player to watch: Chris Llewellyn
He is the top goal scorer for the Welsh side. The midfielder will have to be watched close by the Rams as he has scored seven goals this season. Llewellyn scored his first international goal for Wales against Liechtenstein in November 2006.
Match Facts & Stats
Simmo’s Pediction – Derby County 3 Wrexham 1
Jan 13th – Derby County v Sheffield Wed (H)- Championship
Jan 20th – Southend v Derby County (A) – Championship
Jan 27th – FA Cup 4th Round
Jan 31st – Derby County v Burnley (H) – Championship