Derby County v Blackburn Rovers
Sunday, 30th December 2007, 1:30 pm
The Rams head into Sunday`s Premier League clash against Blackburn Rovers (1.30pm) desperately looking for a victory to keep themselves in touch with the rest of the league.
There is a great deal of optimism in the camp after the two games over the Christmas period, but a victory has eluded Paul Jewell`s side.
The defeat on Boxing Day against Liverpool was a huge disappointment for the Rams but they showed a great deal of character. Made pundits believed Liverpool didn`t play well but the Rams didn`t let them, closing them down at every opportunity.
The omens are good for the Rams for Sunday`s clash as they are defending an unbeaten home Premier League record against Blackburn and are looking for a fourth consecutive home win over them.
Rovers last won a league game on Derby turf on 4 September 1991; 0-2 in the old second Division, but they did win an FA Cup clash at Pride Park in 2001.
Mark Hughes` side have also picked up a point over Christmas, a 0-1 home loss against Chelsea on Boxing Day was followed by a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, but Rovers have slipped to ninth in the table with one win in nine outings.
Jewell hopes his side continues on with their previous performances. He said: “‘We have to get into peoples’ faces; otherwise we will be really embarrassed.
‘There are things we must do to give ourselves a chance, and that is application and effort.
‘We have not been good enough in too many games and that is why we are bottom of the league. It is not poor refereeing decisions, but what we are doing.’
The Rams have a long list off injuries with Andy Griffin, Rob Earnshaw (both calf), Matt Oakley (thigh), Andy Todd (back), Claude Davis (knee), David Jones (groin) and Stephen Bywater and Stephen Pearson (both shoulder).
Matt Oakley and Stephen Bywater could return for the game but Jewell will not take any chances for the game and has added Jon Macken to the squad, the striker has been recalled from his loan spell at Barnsley early.
Rovers bring back midfielder Robbie Savage (who is reportedly a target of the Rams in the January transfer window) and left-back Stephen Warnock who are both available again after one-match bans.
Defender Andre Ooijer is still recovering from a hamstring injury and is not expected to be fully fit until mid-January.
Derby (from): Price, Bywater, Edworthy, McEveley, Leacock, Johnson, Barnes, Mears, Moore, Feilhaber, Holmes, Oakley, Teale, Lewis, Miller, Howard, Fagan, Macken, Hinchliffe.
Blackburn (from): Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Khizanishvili, Bentley, Dunn, Tugay, Reid, Savage, Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Roberts, Derbyshire, Mokoena, Berner, Olsson, Brown.
Referee – Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)