After stopping the rot with a creditable draw at Crystal Palace last weekend, The Rams have a good chance to return to winning ways against a Bristol City side under the stewardship of Derek McInnes, who, since his arrival at Ashton Gate, has turned things around, with The Robins clawing their way out of the relegation zone.
Following six consecutive league defeats, the point claimed at Selhurt Park infront of the Sky television cameras was much-needed, but equally important is another win, something Nigel CLough’s men have done only once in twelve matches.
It is an alarming slump following the sensational early season run of results, but, with key players returning from injury, there are surely better times ahead and more positive results will be acheived than in the tough past couple of months.
Striker Callum Ball is keen to score the first professional goal of his career and believes it is only just around the corner. The big forward, 19, told the Derby Evening Telegraph:
‘It’s nice to be back in and around the squad and, hopefully, I will get a start soon,’ he said.
‘I’ve been working hard and putting myself about, like I’ve been told. That’s all I can do.
‘I’m still looking for my first goal but I’ll get it soon – don’t worry!
‘I had one cleared off the line against Brighton and I would have scored at Palace if he (McCarthy) hadn’t put it in.
‘It’s going to drop soon for me, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.’
Robins boss Derek McInnes is confident that the late defeat against Middlesbrough will not impact on his players and that they will be up for the fight against Derby: ‘We lost the last game against Boro, but I don’t see that affecting the lads.
‘They have been bright and bubbly in training and there has been a real edge and intensity to their work this week. I want to see that same intensity on the pitch on Saturday and I’m sure I will.
‘I want them to be a competitive and aggressive team and, so long as they display that side of their game, they will be fine. I’m sure they will be at it from the first whistle at Derby.’
The Rams Team News:
Paul Green will continue at right back, where he has performed well, in the absence of John Brayford.
Leading scorer Theo Robinson may return after recovering from a hamstring injury, but he may be eased back into the first team.
Player to watch: Paul Green
Green provided the cross for the own goal which secured Derby a point at Crystal Palace and has been brilliant at full-back since his return from injury.
Previously he had not convinced on the right side of defence but he has performed admirably in the last two games.
The Robins Team News:
Ex-Ram Lewin Nyatanga may return to the Bristol City line-up following an injury.
Robins midfielder Martyn Woolford stood on a pin earlier in the week but will be fit to play despite this massive scare.
Player to watch: Albert Adomah
Attacking midfielder Adomah has been in great form this season, linking up well with fellow dangerman Nicky Maynard.
He has two caps for Ghana in 2011.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby County last 5:
Crystal Palace (a) 1-1
Brighton & Hove Albion (h) 0-1
West Ham United (a) 1-3
Hull City (h) 0-2
Peterborough United (a) 2-3
Bristol City last 5:
Middlesbrough (h) 0-1
Watford (a) 2-2
Southampton (h) 2-0
Millwall (h) 2-1
Burnley (h) 3-1
Ipswich Town vs. Derby County, Fri 17nd December, 15:00pm, The Championship