From elation to despair. Having seen the Rams play excellent football and pick up three points against Peterborough, watching them plummet to a cup exit to lower league opposition is frustrating to say the least. But the team will get an immediate chance to right the wrongs from that game in Saturday`s fixture against Nigel Adkins` Scunthorpe United. The Irons began the season in disastrous fashion, succumbing to Cardiff City 4-0. However, they enjoyed contrasting fortunes to the Rams in the league cup, winning 2-1 against Chesterfield. The teams haven`t met since 1964, and it will be interesting to see whether Nigel Clough`s side will come away with anything from a team widely tipped for relegation from the Championship. A win in the fixture would be the first time the Rams have won their opening two league games since 1973 when Nigel`s father Brian was at the helm.
On the striker shortage situation, Clough commented: ‘It’s a relief Steven is not a long-term injury and we have been told that the lay-off will be short-term. Beyond that, we are not prepared to put a date on it or rule him in or out of any matches. Obviously Chris Porter is not going to be available for some time, but the other news is very positive. Kris Commons is fine, Rob Hulse is getting closer to being available and Steve Davies won’t be out for very long at all.’
Clough`s adversary and opposite number, Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins, is enthusiastic but realistic about the season ahead for his Iron`s side: ‘We are raring to go. Bring it on, I can’t wait. It’s going to be a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. We are going to relish the challenge to play against clubs much bigger then us – but we are in the Championship on merit, we deserve to be there and will be working our socks off to stay there.” On the game, speaking to the Scunthorpe United website, he comments: “It’s a great game for us and it’s fantastic that we’re playing matches like this. There will be a full house, an electric atmosphere and there will be an array of talent on show. Kris Commons, who has been away playing for Scotland, is a talented player and one to watch. Robbie Savage, who is a charismatic character, will be playing in midfield for them too and we expect a battle.”
Scunthorpe United Team News:
David Mirfin is a doubt for Saturday`s fixture; the defender has been struggling with an ankle problem. Joe Murphy and Grand McCann are back in contention after an international spell. McCann curled in an excellent free kick for Northern Ireland in their 1-1 draw with Israel. The giant 6ft 7in defender, Rob Jones, missed out on his team`s firs game in the Championship following his move from Hibernian. He will be eager to play against one of the teams who expressed an interest in his services
Player to watch: Gary Hooper
21 year old front man who has been earning rave reviews with some eye-catching performances last season. He has 24 goals in 45 appearances.
Derby County Team News:
Injuries continue to mount for Nigel Clough`s team, especially in the striking department. Bad news from the defeat to Rotherham was an injury to Steve Davies, although the injury is not as serious as first thought. He is still unlikely to feature against Scunthorpe. Rob Hulse will be pushing for a game, and is only 3 strikes away from his hundredth league goal. Varney is possibly going to make an appearance given the definite absence of Porter and Barnes but Kris Commons is almost certain to start after impressing for Scotland against Norway and coming through 90 minutes unscathed. Injuries appear to be improving on the defence front, with Shaun Barker and Dean Leacock making the bench against Rotherham. Whether they will displace either of the current centre-back pairing remains to be seen. Jake Buxton and Miles Addison are the men in question. Loan signing Jake Livermore is still suspended.
Player to watch: Gary Teale
With two goals in two appearances this season, the Scottish winger will be looking to continue his form. With the absence of a target man up-front, his influence from the wing could be key.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Rotherham United (a) 1-2
Peterborough United (h) 2-1
Watford (a) 1-3
Charlton Athletic (h) 1-0
Reading (h) 0-2
Last 5: Scunthorpe United
Chesterfield (h) 2-1
Cardiff City (a) 0-4
Milwall (-) 3-2
MK Don (h) 0-0 (aet 7-6 on pens)
MK Dons (h) 1-1
Blackpool vs. Derby County, Tuesday 18th August 2009 19:45, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship