Three of the Rams next four games are at home, the first is against Everton on Sunday with fixtures against West Ham United and Chelsea coming up.Rams boss Billy Davies is aware of the importance of the fixtures.
‘We have played six away and four at home. Now we have a run of three out of the next four at home,’ said the Rams manager. If we can pick up points in the home matches it would put us in a very good position, but there are no guarantees in this league.’
The Rams entertain Everton on Sunday and the return of Australian International Tim Cahill couldn`t have come at a worse time for the home side.
He played in his first match for the Toffees since breaking his metatarsal against Sheffield United last season, scored the opening goal and was a constant threat going forward.
Everton boss David Moyes singled fit-again Tim Cahill out for praise after his scoring return in the 3-1 win against Larissa, and he who now has an almost full-strength midfield to select from, said it was pleasing to see Cahill back on the pitch and playing well.
‘Scoring is what Tim does for us and he has been doing it for years. He did again and you see what it means to him,’ the manager remarked.
‘It is a big thing for our squad and thankfully he is back and come through it with no problems. It will benefit him in the coming weeks.’
Former Rams Leon Osman, was the provider for Cahill’s goal, and Thomas Gravesen came on for Cahill in the final half an hour and got some much needed match practise.
They head to Pride Park on Sunday (2pm) and another player the Rams will need to close down is James McFadden, and Rams boss Billy Davies knows the Scotsman quite well, Davies was coaching Motherwell’s under-15s when he first noted McFadden’s talent.
The Rams have been linked a number of times with the Toffees striker and Davies, who later became Motherwell manager, then handed the striker his senior debut, as he did Derby’s own Scottish international, Stephen Pearson. He was 17 when he came on as a substitute in a 3-0 home defeat by Dundee on Boxing Day 2000. His first start came against Rangers at Fir Park the following March.
“It was clear in those early days at Motherwell that both James and Stephen Pearson had something special,” Davies said.
“I remember those cold Tuesday and Thursday nights when I first saw James training. He was cheeky and confident.
“He had a great belief in his own ability. He had a bit of swagger about him and he also had a sweet left foot.”
The Rams have injury concerns heading into the clash with the Toffees, Claude Davis and Dean Leacock are both doubtful with groin injuries after limping out at Craven Cottage last week.
Good news for Davies is that Jay McEveley is fit again after suffering a neck injury last week, but Andy Todd remains a concern due to back and hamstring problems. A positive for the Rams is Giles Barnes, who looks set to start for the first time this season.