Another roller coaster week at Pride Park, beginning with the frenetic cup victory at Forest Green, continues with the news that Nigel Clough is the new manager of The Rams twenty four hours ahead of the visit of world champions Manchester United in the semi-final of the Carling Cup.
Youngster Seb Hines will go straight into the squad after signing on loan from Middlesbrough and having not played in the competition in earlier rounds. Paul Connolly has returned to training but this match may come too early for him, as with Claude Davis, and Martin Albrechtsen may face a late fitness test after picking up a knock in the victory over Forest Green at the weekend. The appointment of Clough as new manager, which takes effect on Thursday morning, has seen the departure of Chris Hutchings so David Lowe will take charge for one match.
Manchester United come into this semi-final on the back of a 3-0 success over Southampton in the FA Cup on Sunday courtesy of goals from youngsters Danny Wellbeck, Nani and Darron Gibson. They have recently been crowned world champions after winning the World Club Championship in Japan and currently sit third in the Premiership, seven points behind leaders Liverpool but with two games in hand. It looks like Sir Alex Ferguson will name the same squad that won on the south coast, with inclusion of one or two youngsters, but the squad will include a rash of international`s and up and coming talent that will prove a stern test of Derby`s Wembley dream.
‘Being the favourites and being expected to win brings with it an added pressure.
We have got to try and take advantage of that and make it difficult for them and if we can play and get the crowd behind us, we can give anyone a game.”
Rob Hulse talking to Radio Derby about the visit of Manchester United.
Derby County Team News:
Seb Hines may go straight into the side after signing on loan from Middlesbrough and there may be late fitness tests for Martin Albrechtsen and Paul Connolly as they look to recover from injury to make the starting line-up.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Looks to be returning to form after having a hand in three of the four goals at The New Lawn against Forest Green. His delivery from set pieces could be vital as the Rams look to shock Manchester United in this first leg.
Manchester United Team News:
United welcome back Carlos Tevez from his trip back to Argentina and Darrin Gibson and Rodrigo Possebon are again included in the squad. Danny Wellbeck may keep his place up front after a goalscoring performance at Southampton on Sunday.
Player to watch: Carlos Tevez
Scorer of five goals in Manchester United`s march to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup. No longer first choice if Rooney and Berbatov are fit but his work rate and skill have made him a fan`s favourite and he certainly has the quality to change a game single-handedly.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Charlton Athletic (A) 2-2 Ellington (2)
Watford (H) 1-0 Hulse
Preston North End (A) 0-2
Ipswich Town (H) 0-1
Forest Green (A) 4-3 Hulse, Albrechtsen, Green, Davies
Gamba Osaka (Neutral) 5-3 Vidic, Ronaldo, Rooney (2), Fletcher
Liga Deportiva (Neutral) 1-0 Rooney
Stoke City (A) 1-0 Tevez
Middlesbrough (H) 1-0 Berbatov
Southampton (A) 3-0 Wellbeck, Nani, Gibson
With the recent happenings at Pride Park it`ll be good to get back to concentrating on the football and what a game. Even if Manchester United don`t put out their strongest side it`s going to be a massive test for The Rams, even with a spirited performance the Red Devils` will take this one 2-1 ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford.
10th Jan v Cardiff City (Coca Cola Championship) Ninian Park