The Rams take on Yorkshire opponent for the third time in a row, with the other two having totally different outcomes.
The guests at Pride Park are Barnsley and The Rams will be hoping for a result like the 1-0 success at Sheffield United rather than the hugely disappointing 3-1 defeat on home soil against Doncaster Rovers.
Derby were battling and brave against The Blades a week ago, showing real resilience and heart to take the three points, which made the limp performance against Donny harder to take.
Oddly enough, The Rams have been consistent in patches this season. Good performances and poor results at the start, the purple patch with great displays and lots of points and the terrible run since November.
Barnsley will provide another tough test (who doesn’t at the moment) even though they are without a win in five so Derby will have to be at their limited best if they wish to walk away with all the points.
It really is depressing to see our team struggle so badly and expect defeat against almost every team, even a side who struggles for wins like Barnsley.
It’s no coincidence that Derby’s only wins this year have been squeezed out against the divisions bottom two teams, Preston North end and Sheffield United.
Let’s just hope that they both stay as bad, and that Scunthorpe fail to pick up man more points or it could be a very unconfortable end to the season.
Nigel Clough is confident his side can remain in the Championship but doesn’t think the home form is doing them any favours: ‘We think there is enough to steer away from trouble. It might be our away form that steers us clear, strangely enough,’ said Clough.
‘It is certainly easier in some ways playing away from home when the onus isn’t on you.
‘You can go to Sheffield United, get a goal and then defend because the onus is on the home side to break you down.
‘We might be better suited to that at the moment than creating stuff.’
Barnsley manager Mark Robins blames his side’s bad form on the injuries which have decimated his squad: ‘We are in the same situation as we were after the Norwich game. Four or five injuries have taken away the heartbeat of our side. We`ve got to keep on assessing them.
‘We will give the players every chance to make Saturday`s match with Derby, and if they are ruled out it will give me a selection headache, especially defensively.
‘But it will be a case of opportunity knocks for the players who have been out of the side.’
The Rams Team News:
Gareth Roberts may return after missing the last two games with a bruised shin.
Frank Fielding will remain in goal after Stephen Bywater was loaned to Cardiff City and Saul Deeney remains injured.
Player to watch: ?
The side unfortunately look so devoid of quality it’s hard to choose somebody to look out for. Maybe the pace of Jamie Ward or Theo Robinson will make something happen.
The Tykes Team News:
Nathan Doyle, Jacob Mellis and Bobby Hassell are all out for The Tykes and Jason Shackell will miss out after his front teeth were accidentally knocked out by Norwich striker Grant Holt.
How I wish we had a player of his quality and size leading our forward line…
Ex-Ram Jay McEvely may come back into contention for hie side’s trip to Pride Park.
Player to watch: Marlon Harewood
Ex-Forest striker Harewood has signed for The Tykes from Premier League Blackpool after his explosive early season form has faded.
A return to the second tier may spark him into life and the fact that he used to be a red means he will probably be even more keen to score against The Rams.
Match Facts & Stats
The Rams’ last five:
Doncaster Rovers (h) 1-3
Sheffield United (a) 1-0
Hull City (h) 0-1
Scunthorpe United (a) 0-0
Leicester City (h) 0-2
Barnsley’s last five:
Norwich City (h) 0-2
Leeds United (a) 3-3
Portsmouth (a) 0-1
Ipswich Town (h) 1-1
Leicester City (a) 1-4
Middlesbrough vs. Derby County, Tue 8 Mar, 19:45, The Championship