Old rivals Leeds United are tonight’s opposition with Derby looking for the win which manager Nigel Clough says would preserve their Championship status.
Simon Grayson’s United are in sixth place in the table and look set for a play-off spot if they can carry on playing the attractive but effective football which has served them well over the season.
On the opening day of the season, an impressive Rams side beat Leeds 2-1 at Elland Road with goals from departed duo Rob Hulse and Kris Commons.
Times have changed since then and the teams fortunes have gone in different directions.
However, The Rams have won their last four games against Leeds so form is on their side…
Midfielder Ben Davies provided the cross for Steve Davies’ goal but hopes to get off the mark himself, against former Notts County teammate Kasper Schmeichel: ‘I’m desperate to score my first goal and, hopefully, that will come on Tuesday, if selected,’ he said.
‘Leeds are a good side. I know Kasper and he speaks highly of a lot of their lads.
‘It will be nice to see him again and even nicer to score past him!
‘He’s a good keeper and is having a great season.
‘His shot-stopping is very good and his game has come on an enormous amount in the past year or two.
‘He knows my game and I know his game. I wish him well – after tonight!’
Leeds assistant manager Glynn Snodin hopes to get the home fans’ on their teams back: ‘Nigel has said Derby need one more win to ensure their safety in the Championship and I agree.
‘They looked a good footballing side when they came to our place but they seem to be faltering at home where the crowd tend to get on their backs if things are not going right in the opening half hour.’
The Rams Team News:
Dean Leacock made his return to the Derby side in the 2-2 draw with Coventry City, but he may drop out after suffering cramp.
Gareth Roberts is still likely to miss out with a knee injury but Russell Anderson and Miles Addison are both now fully fit and available to play in defence if needed.
Player to watch: Jamie Ward
Pesky striker Ward had his best game for Derby in the draw with Coventry. His enthusiastic approach has made him a fans favourite and in his short time with The Rams he has won three penalties, in addition to the two goals he has scored.
Sign him up.
The Whites Team News:
Ex-Sunderland defender George McCartney went off injured in his side’s defeat at Millwall. Paul Connolly, Derby’s former right-back, filled in for him so he may continue.
Arsenal loanee Sanchez Watt is available again, as is the previously suspended striker Billy Paynter.
Barry Bannan and Neil Kilkenny are pushing for places in the team but they will have to displace Jake Livermore, who played for The Rams last season.
Player to watch: Robert Snodgrass
Scottish midfielder Snodgrass has scored some spectacular goals this season.
He never seems to score a scrappy goal and has a left foot of a similar quality to that of Kris Commons. One to watch out for.
Match Facts & Stats
The Rams’ last five:
Coventry City (h) 2-2
Cardiff City (a) 1-4
Crystal Palace (a) 2-2
Swansea City (h) 2-1
Middlesbrough (a) 1-2
The Whites’ last five:
Millwall (a) 2-3
Nottingham Forest (h) 4-1
Sheffield United (a) 0-2
Ipswich Town (h) 0-0
Preston North End (a) 2-1
Queens Park Rangers vs. Derby County, Mon 18 Apr, 19:45, The Championship