In-form Portsmouth are the visitors to Pride Park this weekend, with the two form teams of the division going head to head. Pompey have recorded six wins from seven and Derby are almost as good at the moment, with a recent run of five wins from seven. Portsmouth recovered from a rocky start to life in the Championship and have lept up to tenth, level on points with Nigel Clough’s seventh placed Derby side.
Rams manager Nigel Clough knows Portsmouth will provide a stern test for his young side, given their recent Premier League experience: ‘Portsmouth had a rocky start to the season, but when you look at their first 11 and most of their bench it has Premier League quality throughout.
‘A few players have carried over from last season there, and Steve has added to that too with a few signings as a lot of players moved on.
‘I would say Portsmouth and Cardiff City are the two sides who are capable of beating anyone in the Championship, home or away.’
Nigel Clough’s opposite number Steve Cotteril has praised the job being done by the manager he will be pitting his wits against in the Pride Park clash: ‘I think Nigel Clough has done a terrific job for Derby. He`s had to cut the budget but has got some good players in, and now they`re reaping the rewards. He`s been given time and has shown what a good manager he is.’
The Rams Team News:
Alberto Bueno’s achilles problem loks set to rule him out of the televised clash. Shefki Kuqi is likely to start in his absense, especially as Luke Moore has a hamstring injury.
Player to watch: Tomasz Cywka
After netting two goals against Watford last week, including a superb second solo effort, Cywka will be high on confidence for the visit of Portsmouth.
Pompey Team News:
Pompey defender Ricardo Rocha, formerly of Porto and Spurs, as recovered from a hamstring injury but will have to displace Ibrahima Sonko in central defence, after he scored and performed well in the 2-1 victory over Forest.
Player to watch: Michael Brown
Former Tottenham midfielder Brown has a reputation for a strong tackle. He is the heartbeat of the Portsmouth side and it will be interesting to witness the battle between him and Robbie Savage.
Match Facts & Stats
Swansea City (a) 0-0
Preston North End (h) 3-0
Doncaster Rovers (a) 3-2
Millwall (a) 0-2
Watford (h) 4-1
Middlesbrough (a) 2-2
Watford (h) 3-2
Millwall (a) 1-0
Hull City (a) 2-1
Nottingham Forest (h) 2-1
Ipswich Town vs. Derby County, Tue 9th November, 19:45pm, The Championship