It`s back to action for the Rams after the international break, with a visit to Oakwell to take on Barnsley (3pm)
A victory in Yorkshire and results going their way elsewhere the Rams will consolidate their prime position for a return to the Premier league. But we all know – ‘Football`s a funny old game” – well so Greaves said, but Barnsley will be fighting for the victory for their relegation scrap, so Billy Davies` side will have to be at their best to keep the dream alive. Like I`ve said in the past the Rams have their destiny in their own hands, keep on winning and they can`t be overtaken.
Davies will have to do without top goal scorer Steve Howard today, who begins a two match suspension, which will give the gaffer a selection headache. Will he use Jon Macken or give Craig Fagan a start up front. He could turn to veteran striker Paul Peschisolido, who in the week said he would be hoping to impress Davies and earn a new contract next season, or will new signing Darren Currie get his first starting role for the Rams.
Over the past month the Rams have been on the look out for a defender but we look like we have all bases covered with the Dean Leacock and Darren Moore pairing working well for Billy, and Jay McEveley and Tyrone Mears are cover if the two central defenders pull up sore.
Davies is hoping to cover the loss of Howard and has a number of options and believes other have to stand up for the side. He said: “We have got good options and a number of guys can play there.
“It opens the door for someone to come in and be that hero we need.
“It’s a crucial time, and I’m sure that these guys will be hoping to come in and start.”
Davies feels it’s important for the rest of the squad to chip in with their fair share of goals – and feels the Rams have enough attacking firepower to do so.
“That’s why you carry a squad, and now we need another hero,’ he said.
“Someone has got to come in and grab the bull by the horns, lead from the front, show us they can score goals and we have the players who can do that.”
The Tykes sit in 20th position on 41 points, but they are just two points off the drop zone. The last time out the Tykes were humbled 4-1 away to Coventry City. The team for that game was -GK Colgan, Austin (Hassell 52), Paul Reid, Nyatanga, Heckingbottom, Togwell, Howard (Nardiello 59), McCann, Ferenczi, Rajczi, Devaney (Kyel Reid 52).
Subs Not Used: Lucas, Eckersley.
Tykes boss Simon Davey believes his side will give it a good go on Saturday. He said: ‘We have a fully fit squad for the game. Everybody has come back from international duty unscathed but we will be without Martin Devaney, who is suspended, and Lewin Nyatanga, who is unable to play. Other than that we will have everybody else.
“Someone will step up to replace those two and it is up to them to keep the shirt. We have three games in nine days so someone will come in and they have to stake their claims to stay there.
‘Derby is top of the league and has good players who are very confident. We know that Steve Howard is not playing and that is a boost for us but they have Barnes, Lupoli and Fagan. They have spent a lot of money and have a team which is competing to get into the Premier League. There will be a big crowd on the day but we need the points. It will not be an easy game for them.”
Barnsley Team News:
Barnsley’s on-loan defender Lewin Nyatanga is not allowed to play against the Rams, as his parent club, so Antony Kay and Rob Atkinson are vying for a starting spot. Kyel Reid comes in for Martin Devaney (ban) and Paul Hayes will be hoping to feature after a spell out on loan.
Player to watch: Istvan Ferenczi
The Hungarian signed for Barnsley on this year`s transfer deadline day. He has scored six goals in his nine Tykes appearances and will be handful along with his fellow countryman Peter Rajczi. The Rams will need to be wary of his recent goal scoring exploits.
Derby County Team News:
Derby will be without top scorer Steve Howard through suspension, so Jon Macken could feature and on loan Darren Currie is also in line for his first start. Stephen Pearson is still struggling with foot and ankle injuries and will not be risked but Richard Jackson may figure on the bench after recovering from a knee injury.
Player to watch: Giles Barnes
The Youngsters pace will cause the Tykes defence problems, if he is tuned in for the game. Again his service from the flanks along with Gary Teale will be crucial for the Rams to get the all important goals.
Last Time we Met at Oakwell
Jim Smith Rams were the last side that played in the league at Oakwell in the Premier League of 1997. The Rams left Yorkshire with a 1-0 defeat with former Ram Ashley Ward scoring the winner.
Teams Barnsley: Watson, Eden, De Zeeuw, Moses, Barnard, Marcelle (Bullock, 73), Sheridan, Redfearn, Tinkler, Hristov (Liddell, 61), Ward. Other subs: Appleby, Bosancic, Markstedt (gk).
Derby County: Poom, Yates, Rowett, Laursen (Carbon, 67), Eranio, Carsley, D. Powell, C. Powell (Baiano, 76), Willems, Sturridge, Wanchope (Burton 76). Other subs: Hoult (gk), Solis.
Referee G.P. Barber (Surrey).
Attendance – 18,686.
Last five meetings at Oakwell
Barnsley 1 – Ward
Barnsley 2 – Liddell (2
Barnsley 2 – Rammell (2)
Derby 1 – Pembridge
Derby 1 – Kitson
Barnsley 1 – Rammell
Derby 1 – Kitson
Barnsley 0 Derby County 2