The Rams make the short journey to the West Midlands to do battle with West Brom on the back of some reasonable away form. West Brom are in relatively poor form having last tasted victory five games ago, but they are not to be underestimated and have the dangerous Jerome Thomas returning after a five match ban.
Derby will be keen to win having suffered defeat to Swansea at the weekend and The Rams’ behaviour will be under heavy scrutiny after the handbags during the Swansea game which resulted in a third F.A. charge of the season accusing Nigel Clough of failing to control their players.
Rams manager Nigel Clough hopes that minimising changes to his side will see a continuation of Derby’s recent form: “Going to West Brom, they played five in midfield at Bristol City and looked very dangerous doing that as well.
“We have got a bit of pace now with Stephen Pearson fully fit and Sunu and Martin.
“So, we have one or two options formation-wise and in personnel.
“The unchanged line-up has helped the performances and that is why we want to minimise those changes ? there will be just the two on Saturday.’
Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo sees The Rams as a potential threat given their good recent form: ‘They are in good form and they seem to be playing better against the teams in the top half,’ Di Matteo said whilst talking to the club’s official website.
‘Looking back, the point we gained at Derby was a good point, considering that our opponents in Forest and Newcastle didn’t get any points over there.
‘I remember we were disappointed with the way it happened but looking back it was a good point.
‘They always do well against the bigger teams in this league and they will be pressing us and chasing us.
‘We always know what they are going to do and it’s going to be a very difficult game for us considering all the circumstances of the last week.
‘It’s the third game in six days and we had extra-time.’
West Brom Team News:
Roman Bednar faces a late fitness test to see if he can face The Rams but Jerome Thomas returns to The Baggies’ squad after completing a five game ban. Loan signing Ben Watson is expected to make his debut.
Player to watch: Graham Dorrans
The £100,000 ex-Livingston man has been simply brilliant this season and scored against The Rams earlier in the season in the 2-2 draw at Pride Park. However, he should have been sent-off before his goal.
Derby County Team News:
Kris Commons faces a spell on the sidelines with another hamstring injury and will be replaced by Gilles Sunu, Chris Porter or Dave Martin as Steve Davies is still unfit. Dean Moxey will come in for Jay McEveley at left-back as the latter starts a two-game ban following his second dismissal of the season.
Player to watch: Robbie Savage
Savage has been in excellent form in recent weeks and has found another level of performance.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Swansea City (h) 0-1
Preston North End (h) 5-3
Birmingham City (h) 1-2
Newcastle United (h) 3-0
Sheffield United (a) 1-1
Last 5: West Brom
Reading (h) 2-3 (aet)
Bristol City (a) 1-2
Cardiff City (a) 1-1
Reading (a) 2-2
Scunthorpe United (h) 2-0
Derby County vs. Watford, Saturday 6 March 2010 15:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship