The Rams host Nottingham Forest in the re-arranged second ‘proper’ East Midlands derby of the season.
Nigel Clough’s side emerged victorious last time around with a 2-1 win courtesy of goals excellent from Jamie Ward and Jeff Hendrick following the first minute dismissal of Frank Fielding.
More of the same please.
Forest may sneak their way out of trouble this season thanks to Portsmouth entering administration and being docked ten points, but on current form they may have had enough even without that helping hand.
Derby, for once, appear to be heading for safety reasonably early and the comfort of midtable mediocrity, a rarity in recent years of peaks and troughs, beckons.
Rams manager Nigel Clough is keen for his side to avoid yet another sloppy start against Forest: ‘I hope we will be at it from the kick-off against Forest – that will be the aim and that will be the message,’ said the Rams manager.
‘We have to play for the whole game and we certainly cannot give anything away early on.’
Skipper Shaun Barker wants the home fans to go home happy: ‘It is a really exciting game to play in and we have all got our fingers crossed that we can get a win over Forest and get the double over them this season.
‘We just hope that we give the 32,000-33,000 supporters at Pride Park something to cheer about come the end of the game because for those fans, for this club and this division, it is massive.’
The Rams Team News:
Gareth Roberts is expected to return to the Derby line-up after missing the Watford defeat through illness. Jake Buxton will drop out with Jason Shackell returning to his preferred central defensive role.
Jamie Ward is still out after suffering an injury on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Player to watch: Nathan Tyson
Former Forest striker is sure to feature against his old side in a bid to notch his first Rams goal since moving down the A52.
Should he score, I hope he doesn’t head for the corner flag…
Forest Team News:
On-loan Wolves defender George Elokobi and winger Paul Anderson both face late fitness tests before the Pride Park clash.
Ex-Ram Danny Higginbotham will return to his former club on the back of scoring his first Forest goal in the victory over Millwall.
Player to watch: Gareth McCleary
Former Slough town and Bromley winger McCleary has finally begun to realise his potential with a series of sparkling performances topped off with goals in recent weeks.
The pacey wide-man has netter four goals in the last couple of months and will provide a real test for Paul Green at right-back.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby County last 5:
Watford (h) 1-2
Blackpool (h) 2-1
Birmingham City (a) 2-2
Leicester City (h) 0-1
Southampton (a) 0-4
Nottingham Forest last 5:
Millwall (h) 3-1
Doncaster Rovers (h) 1-2
Barnsley (a) 1-1
Birmingham City (a) 2-1
Coventry City (h) 2-0
Doncaster Rovers vs. Derby County, Sat 17th March, 15:00pm, The Championship