Four points from two games against sides pushing for the play-offs have seen The Rams push further away from the drop zone and they face a young Southampton side who sit just the wrong side of the relegation zone. After a great performance but no result against Swansea the opposite can be said of the Bristol City game with the visitor`s leaving Pride Park wondering how they didn`t manage to add to their solitary strike in the 2-1 defeat. A victory on the south coast would open the gap to the bottom three to a potential eleven points and virtually secure Derby`s survival.
Loan signing John Eustace goes straight into the squad and may be in line for a start in Derby`s depleted midfield with Jay McEveley and Chris Porter adding to Nigel Clough`s injury worries and are both considered doubts for the trip down south. Long term absentees Miles Addison and Paul Green will miss the rest of the season and Kris Commons` calf injury has not improved enough for him to be considered in the squad for this encounter. Leading scorer Rob Hulse may be looking for a new partner as he looks to add to his fifteen goals so far with Porter`s injury looking to rule him out.
Southampton are third from bottom and are fighting for Championship survival and their recent mini revival of three wins in a row was broken when they lost 1-0 at St Andrews on Saturday. The Saints won 1-0 at Pride Park back in August with McGoldrick scoring the only goal of the game but results didn`t go their way following that victory and Jan Poortvliet was relieved of his duties as Southampton manager in January to be replaced by Mark Wotte. News broke before the weekend that Bradley Wright-Phillips and David McGoldrick had been arrested over an alleged assault at a time when the club really need to focus on football if they are to survive in this league with their young side.
‘The teams at the bottom keep picking up points, the only time they seem to lose is when they play each other at the moment.
It’s vital we keep picking them up, the win over Bristol City was a huge relief to everyone because we don’t want to get dragged into it.’
Nigel Clough talking to Radio Derby about the importance of the clash with Southampton
Southampton Team News:
Adam Lallana returns after missing two games but this encounter comes to early for Lee Holmes who is still a couple of weeks away from returning to first team action.
Player to watch: David McGoldrick
Young striker who scored the winner at Pride Park earlier this season and has scored ten goals so far this season in a struggling side. Has been forced to play as a lone striker at times this season but has lead the line well and looks to have a bright future.
Derby County Team News:
Chris Porter and Jay McEveley have added to the injury list with Kris Commons also still on the sidelines with his troublesome calf injury and Paul Green confirmed out for the rest of the season with a broken foot.
Player to watch: Rob Hulse
Grabbed the winner against Bristol City for his fifteenth of the season and the competition for places with the arrival of Chris Porter seems to have done him good as he continues to turn in good performances.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Bristol City (A) 0-2
Preston North End (H) 3-1 Surman, Saganowski (2)
Cardiff City (H) 1-0 McGoldrick
Ipswich Town (A) 3-1 Euell (2), Paterson
Birmingham City (A) 0-1
Blackpool (H) 4-1 Commons (2), Green, Barazite
Nottingham Forest (A) 3-1 Nyatanga, Hulse, Davies
Doncaster Rovers (A) 1-2 Savage
Swansea City (H) 2-2 Porter (2)
Bristol City (H) 2-1 Porter, Hulse
Derby showed their resilience to beat Bristol City 2-1 and they will need to show it again against a Southampton side fighting for their life at the wrong end of the table. Their recent run of three wins in a row was broken against Birmingham on Saturday and they will have to wait a little longer for the next three points after a 1-1 draw here.
14th March v Sheffield United (Coca Cola Championship) Bramall Lane