The Rams begin the hectic Easter schedule with a short trip to Coventry City to face Chris Coleman’s side, who have been in poor form in recent weeks, without a win in six matches. Before that The Sky Blues had picked up five wins in six, but their late play-off push has hit the buffers, so it will be a decent chance for Derby to pick up some points to ensure Championship survival. In their last five games against Leicester City’s great rivals, Nigel CLough’s men have won three and drawn two, erasing the memories of conceding six goals in two consecutive away games prior to that.
Nigel Clough sees the two games over Easter as having thepotential to finally release The Rams from their relegation shackles: ‘Let’s grab the chance, let’s get to 5pm Monday and say as much as we can that we are safe – that’s the message to the players, that is the incentive,’ said Clough.
‘Two good results might do it and that means picking up one or three points at Coventry.’
Coventry City defender Matrin Cranie sees the next two games as a chance to push on, much like Clough: ‘With two games coming up in quick succession it is a chance for us to pick up some points quickly,’ he said.
Reading have probably been the form team in the Championship at the moment but we are well aware of our own strengths as a squad and we will be going to the Madejski looking to win.’
Coventry City Team News:
Striker and one-time Rams target Freddie Eastwood is expected to miss out as he is suffering from a back injury. Centre-back James McPake has suffered a bruised ankle but the no-nonsense defender shouldn’t let that keep him out of the side.
Player to watch: Kieran Westwood
Goalkeeper Westwood has been attracting Premier League suitors with a string of excellent performances over the last couple of seasons. He has kept The Sky Blue in many games this campaign.
Derby County Team News:
The frustrating but talented Stephen Pearson has shaken off a slight knock and is expected to keep his place in the side. It has been encouraging to see him fit for such a long time, by his standards. Kris Commons is still not quite ready for a return to the first time, but should be eased back in the coming weeks with reserve fixtures coming up.
Player to watch: Rob Hulse
Hulse seems to score every time we play Coventry, much the same as he does against Forest, and he needs a goal and has a point to prove to Nigel Clough, who has left him on the bench on certain occasions in recent weeks. He is still The Rams’ top scorer this season with 11 in the league.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Leicester City (h) 1-0
QPR (a) 1-1
Sheffield Wednesday (a) 0-0
Doncaster Rovers (a) 1-2
Last 5: Coventry City
Sheffield Wednesday (h) 1-1
West Brom (a) 0-1
Leicester City (a) 2-2
Cardiff City (h) 1-2
Plymouth Argyle (h) 1-1
Derby County vs. Ipswich Town, Monday 5 April 2010 15:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship