With the undefeated run up to five games Derby County visit Carrow Road on Saturday full of confidence and with a number of the home side either suspended or injured they will be looking to pick something up against Norwich City. A hard fought draw with Birmingham City on Tuesday night kept The Rams unbeaten sequence going and the improvement in the team is there for all to see, a touch more creativity going forward and Derby can seriously challenge at the right end of the table with their newfound tenacity and work rate.
Martin Albrechtsen picked up a knock in the midweek match and will certainly miss this encounter with further tests needed to ascertain the full extent of his injury, with the international break coming up Paul Jewell will be hoping that the extra week will give the Dane time to recover as he has been a vital part of The Rams team in the first two months of the season.
Loan signing Leroy Lita will go straight into the squad for Norwich as they look to produce more fire power after only scoring seven times in total so far this season, one behind the visiting Rams side. Having scored goals in The Premiership he`ll be looking to get back on the goal trail at this level and may be teamed with former Derby hitman Arturo Lupoli who could make his first appearance against his former team since agreeing a season long loan move to Carrow Road.
‘We are going into games now looking forward, and even when we’ve been behind and things don’t go our way we are not using it as an excuse.
We are using it to galvanise us and we are becoming difficult to beat.’
Paul Jewell explains to Radio Derby the growing confidence in his squad.
Norwich City Team News:
Leroy Lita is straight into the squad following his loan signing from Reading to try to bolster Norwich`s goal shy front line. With Stefanovic suspended and John Kennedy and Gary Doherty set to miss out with injuries there may be a makeshift line-up at the back for The Canaries in this encounter.
Player to watch: Arturo Lupoli
Former Derby County loanee who is currently leading scorer for The Canaries whilst on loan from Fiorentina. Has the goal scoring knack and can drift through a game not looking particularly dangerous but give him a chance in the box and he`ll punish you, Scored 11 times in the promotion season despite being played out of position wide on the left and virtually frozen out after Christmas.
Derby County Team News:
Lewin Nyatanga looks set to start in place of the injured Martin Albrechtsen in an otherwise unchanged squad, Kris Commons still out with his hamstring issue and looking likely to miss out on Scotland duty next weekend.
Player to watch: Nacer Barazite
His dangerous free-kick led to the late equaliser against Birmingham City and even when not seeing much of the ball is starting to create chances and prove a major influence when The Rams attack, certainly looks as though he`s destined to play at a higher level from what he`s shown so far.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5 results
Plymouth Argyle (A) 2-1 Lupoli, Sibierski
Queens Park Rangers (H) 0-1
Sheffield United (H) 1-0 Croft
Barnsley (H) 0-0
Southampton (A) 0-2
Sheffield United (H) 2-1 Kilgallon (og), Hulse
Swansea City (A) 1-1 Pearson
Cardiff City (H) 1-1 Albrechtsen
Queens Park Rangers (A) 2-0 Albrechtsen, Villa
Birmingham City (H) 1-1 Davies
Two sides who need to add goal scoring to their repertoire if they want to be in contention at the top end of the table next year despite having, on paper at least, the ability up front to score more than they are. This looks like a single goal could settle it and with Derby`s current form they will take this 1-0 to go into the international break on the back of a six game streak and slowly pushing up the table.
18th Oct v Plymouth Argyle (Coca Cola Championship) Pride Park