The busy Christmas period begins on Saturday when the Rams visit Turf Moor to take on Steve Cotterill`s Burnley. The Clarets sit in ninth spot on the table just outside the play-off position with the Rams in second. The Rams will welcome back striker Steve Howard from suspension for the clash but defender Steve Edworthy will be missing as he starts a one-match suspension. Another player who missed the Palace clash was Morten Bisgaard who had a virus, but the Dane should be available for selection. A few difficult decisions for the Rams boss, will he give youngster Richard Jackson a start to replace Edworthy, and will he give a starting role to Bob Malcolm who impressed last week after coming off the bench to replace Matt Oakley in the win against Palace
The Rams are sitting in a great position at the half way point of the fixtures but Coach Billy Davies has banned the ‘P` word (promotion) from the dressing room and he is determined to keep a lid on expectations. ‘I will never let that happen,’ said Davies.
‘I’ve been here before and the timescale is too early to talk about promotion.
‘We are in a nice position and have given ourselves a good opportunity. I know it’s an old cliché but we will look no further than the next match.’
The Rams last visit to Turf Moor was on Saturday, August 27th 2005, and a Grzegorz Rasiak’s equaliser five minutes into added time earned Derby a 2-2 draw from a tumultuous encounter with a 10-man Burnley.
The Rams were ahead following Michael Duff’s trip on Morten Bisgaard, Spanish midfielder Idiakez, scoring with a trademark free kick from more than 30-yards out with 29 minutes gone.
That advantage was wiped out straight after half time when Ade Akinbiyi scored from close-range. The comeback was complete when Gifton Noel-Williams nodded home from Duff’s deep cross in the 53rd minute.
But the complexion of the game changed yet again just two minutes later when Wayne Thomas was sent off by referee Graham Laws for an elbow on Rasiak. Due to a number of lengthy injuries 11 minutes added time was played by referee Laws, and in the fifth minute of stoppage-time Tommy Smith’s cross was headed into the net by Rasiak to earn the Rams a point.
Burnley: Coyne, Duff, Thomas, McGreal, Harley, Garreth O’Connor, Hyde, James O’Connor, Branch, Akinbiyi, Noel-Williams (Lowe 57).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, McCann, Bermingham, Spicer.
Sent Off: Thomas (55).
Booked: Branch, Duff, Garreth O’Connor.
Goals: Akinbiyi 46, Noel-Williams 53.
Derby: Camp, Edworthy (Seth Johnson 66), Michael Johnson (Tudgay 86), Davies, Jackson, Bisgaard, Bolder (Peschisolido 58), Idiakez, Smith, Rasiak, Thirlwell.
Subs Not Used: Grant, Mills.
Goals: Idiakez 30, Rasiak 90.
Ref: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).
The last five Rams games at Turf Moor:
Burnley 2 – Akinbiyi, Noel-Williams
Derby 2 – Idiakez, Rasiak
Derby 2 – Tudgay, Reich
Burnley 1- Branch
Burnley 2 – Moore I, Taylor
Burnley 3 – Eyres, Shaw, Davis
Derby 1 – Trollope
Tickets are available for the Burnley game from the club
£18 for adults, £11.50 for fans over 60 and only £9 for fans under 16. You can get your tickets from Pride Park ticket office.
Also on general sale are tickets for the home games against Wolverhampton Wanderers (December 26), Plymouth Argyle (December 30), Sheffield Wednesday (January 13) and Burnley (January 30), along with the away trip to Preston North End (January 1)
Non season ticket seats are on general sale for the FA Cup clash with Wrexham on January 6, while unclaimed season ticket seats become available from Saturday December 23.