On Sunday the 09/10 season finally comes to an end with a showdown against play-off semi-finalists Cardiff City. The Bluebirds are secure in the end of season battle to reach the Premier League whilst The Rams have secured their Championship status for another year. Although on paper the game looks like a duel between two sides with nothing to play for, City have come out to say that they want to go into the play-offs in good form whilst Derby still want to pass their points total from last season something only a win against Dave Jones’ Cardiff will achieve.
Rams manager Nigel Clough wants to end the season strongly and beat another team towards the right end of the division: ‘It would be encouraging to finish the season with another good performance against a top-six club,’ said Clough.
‘It’s important you send people home with a smile on their face. It will not be absolutely crucial if we don’t get anything because it is all about next season now, but to just take it in isolation it would be nice to finish on a high.
‘Cardiff are a good side, they have been knocking on the door when it comes to promotion for two or three seasons.
‘We cannot judge how they are going to approach Sunday’s game. I would think they are going to have one eye on the play-offs, definitely.’
Cardiff City midfielder Gavin Rae thinks the excellent form The Bluebirds are in will stand them in good stead for the play-offs. ‘The team are going into the play-offs in a good run of form and against anyone over two legs we have got to fancy our chances,’ added Rae.
‘We know it`s going to be tough, but the way the lads are playing at the moment can hopefully be taken forward into the play-off games.
‘I believe we have as good a chance as anybody.’
Derby County Team News:
The Rams have another ludicrously long injury list. Stephen Bywater, Dean Leacock, Jake Buxton, Miles Addison Steve Davies, Russell Anderson, Stephen Pearson and leading scorer Rob Hulse will all miss out and Kris Commons is doubtful despite playing for the reserves in their title-winning display on Thursday night against Shrewsbury Town. Shaun Barker and Dave Martin will play despite the fact that they are scheduled for operations after the game. Gilles Sunu has returned to Arsenal so will not play.
Player to watch: Tomasz Cywka
Striker Cywka could be on the way to The Rams next season depending on his contract situation at Wigan. He has impressed in his appearances as a Ram.
Cardiff City Team News:
Despite wanting to end the season on a high, Cardiff City are expected to leave out a number of their star players. Peter Whittingham, Michael Chopra, Chris Burke, Jay Bothroyd, Joe Ledley, Stephen McPhail and Kevin McNaughton could be amongst those who will be rested for the play-offs, although McPhail and Joe are more likely to play as they seek game time following injuries. Centre-back Mark Hudson is likely to come in for Dave Jones’ side.
Player to watch: Joe Ledley
Midfielder Ledley has been courted by many top clubs and could leave in the summer when he is out of contract.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Bristol City (a) 1-2
Crystal Palace (h) 1-1
Barnsley (a) 0-0
Ipswich Town (h) 1-3
Coventry City (a) 1-0
Last 5: Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday (h) 3-2
QPR (a) 1-0
Reading (h) 0-0
Nottingham Forest (h) 0-0
Swansea City (h) 2-1
When the fixtures for the 2010/2011 season are released they will be updated on the Vital Derby site.