An FA Cup run is something special for fans and players alike. The Rams head to Home Park on Saturday looking to progress in this year`s competition when they take on Plymouth Argyle – (3pm). The ground has unhappy memories for Billy Davies` side, when they were beaten 3-1 in the Championship. But the Rams have blossomed since then and they go into the game as favourites, but this is the FA Cup and you never know what happens, it`s on the day that matters!!
We played Plymouth back in 1984, the Rams then in the old Second Division. The Pilgrims were in the Third Division and a 0-0 draw, at Home Park in front of 34,365, and it looked like the Rams could turn it around at the Baseball Ground and reach the semi-final. We all know what happened, on one of the worst nights in the clubs history. The 0-1 defeat at the Baseball ground in front of 26,906 was bad enough but reports that Robert Maxwell had pulled out of the Rams rescue package, had us all sobbing into our Bass and pedigree.
So when the Rams jet into Plymouth this weekend, there is a huge opportunity to continue a fabulous season, with an FA Cup quarter-final (6th round) place. They will also have a large travelling support, with around 3,000 fans expected to make the trip. Let`s hope by 5pm on Saturday evening the Rams are in the hat for the draw, it will not be an easy game, but the Pilgrims are missing a number of players due to injury, suspensions and player`s cup-tied. (See team news). Derby have won seven and lost one of their last eight League and Cup engagements with Plymouth, and if they play their best we should get the required result, but let`s hope they are on their game, or another Home Park disaster will be on the cards. Come on you Rams!!!!!!
Plymouth Argyle Team News:
Plymouth: Centre-backs Mathias Doumbe and Hasney Aljofree are suspended, while striker Rory Fallon is cup-tied having already appeared in the competition with Swansea City this season.
Also suspended is front-man Barry Hayles, while midfielder Akos Buzsaky is ruled out with a hamstring injury, and left-back Tony Capaldi is a doubt with a groin problem.
Player to watch: Kevin Gallen
The Pilgrims will miss striker Barry Hayles on Saturday, but the on loan striker will be a handful if not watched. He has signed from QPR for the rest of the season and had a good scoring record for the Loftus road side.
Derby County Team News:
Derby: Skipper Matt Oakley and forward Craig Fagan are ruled out through suspension.
The Rams are also without winger Gary Teale and defender Jay McEveley, who are both cup-tied.
Player to watch: Stephan Pearson
Stephan Pearson – The Scotsman has been a revelation since joining the Rams from Celtic. His runs from deep cause teams problems, and he has a strong engine. He is vital if the Rams are to progress in the cup.
Last Time we Met in FA Cup
Plymouth Argyle 0 Derby County 3
FA Cup third round Saturday January 2 1999
Derby County safely navigated their first FA Cup hurdle at Home Park.
Two goals five minutes apart in the first half gave them an important edge. Deon Burton, just back from loan with Barnsley, headed in Dean Sturridge’s centre after 16 minutes.
Then Stefano Eranio converted a penalty when Sturridge was brought down by Paul Wotton. But the Rams owed their half time advantage to a tremendous double save by Mart Poom, from Wotton and, astonishingly, Earl Jean.
Plymouth Argyle attacked with tremendous spirit at the start of the second half but, given an advantage, Horacio Carbonari and the defenders let nothing slip.
Burton wrapped up the tie after 82 minutes when substitute Kevin Harper broke effectively down the right and, after a dummy from Sturridge, Burton lashed his shot into the roof of the net.
The Rams were always made to work hard and were not always comfortable but early goals proved vital.
GK Sheffield, Ashton, Beswetherick (McCall 67), Mauge, Heathcote, Wotton, Barlow, Hargreaves, McCarthy, Jean, Phillips (Marshall 67)
Subs: Dungey, Sweeney, Bastow
Derby: GK Poom, Carbonari, Elliott, Prior, Kozluk, Laursen, Bohinen (Hunt 46), Carsley, Eranio (Harper 79), Sturridge, Burton
Subs: Hoult, Launders, Bridge-Wilkinson
Last three Pilgrims v Rams results at Home Park
15-10-2006 – Championship
Plymouth 3 (Wotton (2), Seip)
Derby 1 (Lupoli)
13-8-2005 – Championship
Derby 2 (Rasiak, Bisgaard)
18-12-2004 – Championship
Derby 2 (own goal, Peschisolido)
Top-flight official Mike Dean has been given the assignment of Saturday’s FA Cup clash.
The Wirral-based whistle-blower last took charge of the Rams in September 2003, when he oversaw a 3-2 win over Watford at Pride Park.
This season he has been the man in the middle on 30 occasions, during which time he has issued 103 yellow cards and handed out seven dismissals.
Simmo’s Prediction – I`ll take a 1-0 victory after the last performance at Home Park.
But I`ll go for Plymouth 1 Derby County 3