Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Saturday March 29 2008
Rams v Fulham - Preview
If results don`t go their way this weekend the Rams are in danger of suffering the ignominy of the earliest relegation in Premier League history.
In season`s 2003 and 2006 Sunderland went down in the 33rd game, and if the Rams lose at home to Fulham on Saturday, and either Birmingham or Bolton win, the long-anticipated drop will be confirmed in their 32nd game.
Jewell said: "'Fulham have a chance of staying up, so I guess they will see this as a must-win game.
'It has all the ingredients, that if things go against us, it will be d-day for us as far as relegation is concerned.
'We don't want that, particularly in front of our home fans, if we can avoid it.
'This is a game we're capable of winning, so hopefully it can be a decent game for the supporters, and more importantly we come away with something.'
On the relegation, none wanted record Jewell asked rhetorically: 'Did Sunderland come straight back up the year after?'
'That'd be the only record I'd be interested in. If we go down tomorrow and come back up next year, I'll settle for that.'
Jewell is still looking for his first league win since replacing Billy Davies and knows that a Fulham team without an away victory all season gives him a good chance to break his duck.
Jewell has accepted the first relegation on his CV because it will come on his watch. 'But other people have to take some responsibility,' he said.
'When I look back to the summer when Derby got promoted, it wasn't about how great Derby County were, it was more about contractual disputes and the chairman.
'So I don't think everything was rosy when I got here. I inherited a situation which wasn't particularly helpful. That's not passing the buck. But I think the problems here are probably a bit more deep-rooted than just me coming here and making a bollocks of it.'
He added: 'I've never had relegation as a manager, and it ain't pleasant. But I've had two promotions from the Championship and I know what it takes. I've never been more determined in my life to see a job through than this one.'
It`s been a hectic week for Jewell with his personal life being splashed all over the tabloid newspapers and he is thankful for the support he has received during an "horrendous" week.
Speaking briefly about the matter, Jewell said: "I want to thank the magnificent support I've had from the football club and my staff. It has been an horrendous time for me and my family."
In Saturday team news Rams duo Roy Carroll and Mile Sterjovski should take their place in the Rams starting line up, after injury. Both sustained groin injuries in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, and both had to pull out of their Ireland and Australian team games respectively.
Alan Stubbs is still injured but Tyrone Mears could make a shock return to the Rams squad for the clash. The defenders season appeared to be over when he underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture of his left shin in January but the defender has made a rapid recovery.
He could find himself on the bench after left-back Jay McEveley returned from Scottish international duty with a dead leg.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson knows a victory is a must for his team. 'Victory is the result we want.
'They are the bottom club and a few points behind us. But we are both in a very difficult situation.
'Both are showing we are not that easy to beat but if we want to get rid of this away record we have, then it has got to be done on the field of play.
'We need a lot more points. We need to take points from the teams around us. The message to the players has never changed.'
Fulham striker David Healy is a doubt with an ankle injury for the visit to Pride Park, while keeper Kasey Keller is set to continue in goal ahead of Ricardo Baptista as Fulham look to bring an end to a run of 18 months without an away win.
Derby County (from): GK Carroll, Edworthy, Moore, Leacock, McEveley, Sterjovski, Savage, Ghaly, Lewis, Miller, Villa, Earnshaw, Todd, Jones, Robert, Price.
Fulham (from): Gk Keller, Konchesky, Johnson, Stalteri, Hughes, McBride, Bullard, Davies, Andreasen, Murphy, Hangeland, Batista, Volz, Healy, Bocanegra, Dempsey.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Date:Saturday March 29 2008
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