A huge fixture awaits The Rams as they make the short trip to Yorkshire to play a Sheffield Wednesday side who have drawn their last two games. The game takes on huge significance and a defeat for either team is potentially damaging. The Rams have an excellent record at Hillsborough in recent years but that counts for nothing, and avoiding defeat would be an important step in avoiding the drop.
Derby full-back Nicky Hunt sees the match in Yorkshire as a potentially vital one for his team: ‘Sheffield Wednesday has to be the one where we turn things around; if we can get the points it will be huge for us.
‘Every game is massive, but given the positions we’re both in it is a big game and everyone is looking forward to it.’
Owls boss Alan Irvine acknowledges that Derby will be a tough prospect against his side, especially as The Rams have won six of the last seven at Hillborough: Irvine added: ‘They are a team full of very experienced players and those who have played at a higher level. They’ve done very well since the turn of the year overall and it will be a good performance needed from us in order to get the right result.
‘We still need five wins to make sure we are in this division next season, there is a lot of pressure but that should focus the minds more as well.’
Sheffield Wednesday Team News:
Luke Varney is not eligible to face his parent club as he is on loan at The Owls from The Rams. His absence will open the door for Leon Clarke to partner Marcus Tudgay with Jermaine Johnson still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
The ex-Rams hitman scored the equaliser in his side’s 2-2 draw against Preston and was attracting interest from Premier League sides in recent memory.
Derby County Team News:
Stephen Bywater could return for the Rams after being ruled out of the last two games with a back injury, but Nigel Clough won’t rush the stopper back and risk further damage and risk a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Steven Davies missed the Boro game with a hamstring injury and remains a doubt.
Player to watch: Chris Porter
Could there be anyone else at the moment? Porter averages a goal every 100 minutes and has three in his last three.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Doncaster Rovers (a) 1-2
Reading (a) 1-4
Watford (h) 2-0
West Brom (a) 1-3
Last 5: Sheffield Wednesday
Preston North End (a) 2-2
Swansea City (a) 0-0
West Brom (a) 0-1
Leicester City (h) 2-0
Reading (a) 0-5
Queens Park Rangers vs. Derby County, Tuesday 23 March 2010 20:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship