The first of two games in four days provide The Rams with an excellent chance to finally put their relegation worries to bed.
It seems absurd we are still speaking in these terms after the incredible form of four months ago, but the players must not be complacent and Coventry City are a decent side to play to finally secure Championship safety.
The Sky Blues beat Derby at The Ricoh Arena early on in the season and both teams had great starts to the season.
It is a distant memory for both sides.
Coventry, in 17th, sit two places and one point above Nigel CLough’s side, when earlier on in the season you would have bet on them both being in and around the play-off mix.
Both teams should be safe, but will look at the Pride Park clash as the ideal opportunity to give themselves an unassailable points total.
Rams defender Shaun Barker isn’t taking anything for granted against Coventry and is willing to play through the pain before undergoing an operation on his knee once his side is safe: ‘If we don’t pick up results, I’m not getting my op done.
‘I want us to get safe before I go and have it done.
‘Even if we win against Coventry, it’s still probably a bit early to say we’re safe and I’d be very surprised if the gaffer sent me off for my operation.
‘Maybe we need another result after that – and we do believe we can get them fairly quickly.’
Ex-Forest midfielder Sammy Clingan is desperate to beat Derby and take his side’s positive display against Watford into the game: ‘We did really well against Burnley but thought we could just turn up against Preston and the Championship isn’t like that.
‘You have to do the ugly things as well and earn the right to play good football and I think we did that against Watford so we’ve got to do it again against Derby.’
The Rams Team News:
Paul Green and Gareth Roberts will both miss out with knee injuries. Green is out for some months but Roberts may return in a couple of weeks.
Tomasz Cywka may come back into the side after injuring himself in the Barnsley game.
Russell Anderson is also pushing for a start, only his second of the season, after a long lay-off with a groin injury.
Player to watch: Whoever plays at right-back
The names being bandied about as to who is playing at right back following Paul Green’s injury are a little worrying.
Dean Leacock, Miles Addison and Russell Anderson are the main candidates, and I wouldn’t feel confident about any of them there.
The Sky Blues Team News:
Gary McSheffrey and Marlon King are 50/50 for the lower-table battle as the threatening duo have been suffering from flu.
Ex-Ram Michael McIndoe could replace McSheffrey for his first start of the campaign.
Player to watch: Lukas Jutkiewicz
Ex-Motherwell forward Jutkiewicz slammed in a penalty when the sides met earlier in the season. He was impressive in his last outing against Watford and is City’s joint top goalscorer with seven.
Match Facts & Stats
The Rams’ last five:
Cardiff City (a) 1-4
Crystal Palace (a) 2-2
Swansea City (h) 2-1
Middlesbrough (a) 1-2
The Sky Blues’ last five:
Watford (h) 2-0
Preston North End (a) 1-2
Burnley (a) 2-2
Hull City (h) 0-1
Doncaster Rovers (a) 1-1
Derby County vs. Leeds United, Tue 12 Apr, 19:45, The Championship