Pride Park is the host for the Skysports camera`s for the visit of Sheffield United in this evening kick-off. After an international break encompassing the two extremes of supporting England, a poor performance against Andorra followed by a win in Croatia as surprising as it was deserved, Derby County return to league action still looking for their first win of the season and currently sitting bottom of the table. After a much improved performance against Barnsley ended in defeat, The Rams would have been itching to put things right but have had to sit it out for two weeks before the next fixture.
Derby go into the game with former Sheffield United hitman Rob Hulse still searching for his first goal and no better time to get it than against his former employers. With virtually a full squad to pick from many an eyebrow would have been raised at the start of the season with the likely starting place for Miles Addison but the youngsters performances in his two previous starts have made him virtually assured of a shirt for this match. It will be interesting to see who Jewell pairs him with in midfield with Przemyslaw Kazmierczak starting the last two fixtures alongside him with the seeds of a decent looking pairing there for all to see.
The Rams were denied another old boy returning to Pride Park with Jon Stead leaving The Blades for a loan spell with Ipswich Town. James Beattie has returned to full fitness and will be pushing for a place in the starting line-up after being leading scorer last term. A run of five consecutive runs was broken with a 0-0 draw at home to Cardiff City just before the break but with a run of six undefeated and the only loss an unlucky 1-0 reverse at St Andrews` on the opening day of the season Sheffield United come into this match in fine form.
‘I have had Rob Hulse twice and respect his abilities well. He is a top lad and each time I have sold him it was for financial reasons that benefited first Leeds and then ourselves because it was sensible, not because I didn’t rate him.
‘He might not have scored yet but strikers have a habit of turning the tables on their old clubs and we have already had Danny Cadamarteri and Steve Kabba do that to us already this season.’
Kevin Blackwell talking to the Sheffield Star about former striker Rob Hulse
Derby County Team News:
All players have returned from international duty unscathed although Commons` trips to Macedonia and Iceland is not the ideal preparation for this game. Miles Addison appears set to continue in midfield after impressing in his last two outings with Paul Connolly an automatic selection at right-back after Tyrone Mears` Marseille adventure.
Player to watch: Rob Hulse
Up against his former club and will be determined to open his account for the season, hasn`t quite hit the heights he would`ve liked since his summer move despite some hard working performances and will be looking to repay Paul Jewell`s faith in him.
Sheffield United Team News:
James Beattie could be in line for a start after his return to fitness and substitute performance just before the international break. Michael Tonge will be missed in midfield after his Premiership switch.
Player to watch: Billy Sharp
Sheffield born striker who has already hit a hat-trick this season and will be looking to add to his tally at Pride Park and cement his place in the team with Beattie`s return to fitness and availability for selection.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5 results
Lincoln City (H) 3-1 aet Ellington (3)
Bristol City (A) 1-1 Green
Southampton (H) 0-1
Preston North End (A) 1-0 Green
Barnsley (A) 0-2
Port Vale (H) 3-1 Hendrie, Quinn, Webber
QPR (H) 3-0 Sharp (3)
Blackpoool (A) 3-1 Quinn, Speed, Halford
Huddersfield Town (A) 2-1 Henderson, Naughton
Cardiff City (H) 0-0
The Sky camera`s come to Pride Park for the first time this season with the pressure starting to build on Paul Jewell. With signs of an upturn in form before the international break everyone will be hoping for a further improvement in this one and despite it looking a tough ask at home to one of the Championships` strongest teams this one will finish all square at 1-1 after a tight game.
16th September v Swansea City (Coca Cola Championship) Liberty Stadium