With The Rams finally mathematically safe, preparations can now begin for next season after a year to forget. There are two more games to go in the season before the final final whistle blows.
Bristol City present the first ‘meaningless’ game of the season for Derby, so the pressure may not be as high as in previous home fixtures where the need for points for survival meant great tension.
This will be The Robins’ lowest finish in the table since their promotion to the division in 2007, as they currently occupy 16th place. Steve Coppell’s bizarre tenure at the club may have something to do with it, but a far more likely reason is the fact the brilliant striker Nicky Maynard has missed the majority of the campaign through injury.
Following some truly dire performances at Pride Park since the end of the six game winning streak last year, the fans deserve to be given a good send-off into the summer!
Nigel Clough doesn’t want to let the season fizzle out as it nears its conclusion.
‘There’s something to play for in every game and tomorrow is no different,’ he told the official site.
‘We somehow contrived to lose our last two games (against Burnley and Norwich) despite performing well.
‘It is our last home game, so we want to bow out in front of the fans with a win and a good display.’
The Rams Team News:
Rams forward Jamie Ward is still banned following his red card against Burnley.
Alberto Bueno replaced him and is likely to continue in an attacking midfield role, although Ben Davies may come back in.
Derby boss Nigel Clough has stated his intention to give youngsters Jeff Hendrick and Callum Ball more playing time; whether either of them start remains to be seen.
Russell Anderson will fill in for Shaun Barker in central defence, after the future captain was ruled out for the rest of the season following knee surgery.
The match will be Robbie Savage’s final home appearance, and could be his 600th career start.
Player to watch: Alberto Bueno
Spaniard Bueno’s Pride Park future looks uncertain after Nigel Clough admitted he didn’t know whether the man on loan from Real Valladolid would remain in England next year.
He sparkled in the second half against Norwich, setting up Steve Davies’ equaliser before grabbing a goal for himself.
His best form has indisputably come on home soil, so hopefully he can give the fans a (potential) farewell gift with another strong performance, but, this time coupled with a win.
The Robins Team News:
Bristol City’s crowning jewel, Nicky Maynard, is suspended following his red card in his side’s defeat at Sheffield United.
Defender Damion Stewart and midfielder Kalifa Cisse are both out through injury so Keith Millen may choose to blood players from City’s academy, as his side are safe from relegation.
Player to watch: Brett Pitman
Ex-Bournemouth forward Pitman has enjoyed a good debut Championship season following his move from League Two.
His twelve goals, including a double against Derby earlier in the season, have helped to soften the blow that was caused by Nicky Maynard’s injury hit campaign.
Match Facts & Stats
The Rams’ last five:
Norwich City (a) 2-3
Burnley (h) 2-4
Queens Park Rangers (a) 0-0
Leeds United (h) 2-1
Coventry City (h) 2-2
The Robins’ last five:
Nottingham Forest (h) 2-3
Sheffield United (a) 2-3
Ipswich Town (h) 0-1
Millwall (a) 0-0
Barnsley (a) 2-4
Reading vs. Derby County, Sat 7 May, 12:45, The Championship