Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday December 23 2007
Magpies v Rams preview
Newcastle United v Derby County
Sunday, 23rd December 2007, 2:00 pm
St. James` Park, Newcastle
The Rams head north today in search of a very rare double. With victory against Sam Allardyce`s side earlier in the season, which is the Rams only victory and another today, would be a great double boost ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.
Jewell believes Derby's 1-0 victory over Newcastle can help today. He said: "It proves to the players they can do it.
"We want to try to remove the shackles in the final third and get balls into the box for the strikers, something we have been working on in training this week," added Jewell.
"Newcastle has had their problems this season with injuries and one or two results. St James' can be a difficult place to go and play but it can also be a great place to play."
Kenny Miller's stunning strike on his debut gave the Rams a 1-0 victory in September and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce is determined there will be no repeat when the sides meet at St James' Park today (2pm).
Allardyce said: "It is still a sore point and it is still hurting even though it is now a long time ago. It's as bad a result as I have had since I came to Newcastle.
"We had gone there unbeaten in our four games in the Premier League and with a Carling Cup win over Barnsley and refreshed after an international break but lost to a wonder goal from Kenny Miller.
"I think Kenny has only scored one more goal for Derby since then and when you also take into account that was the game when Michael Owen's groin first went, then it was a disappointing night for us all round.
"But we are going into Sunday's game with seven points out of the last nine and with the chance of picking up three wins in a row for what I am told would be the first time in 12 months.
"I know Jagger (Paul Jewell) and Stan Ternent will be plotting a way out of trouble for Derby and we have to make sure it does not start against us.
"Derby were resilient at Sunderland a couple of weeks ago and when I watched them against Middlesbrough last week I thought they were on the wrong end of a couple of poor decisions from the referee, yet they were only beaten in the end by a great goal from Tuncay."
Improving Newcastle is looking to complete three Premier League victories on the spin for the first time in over a year.
The Rams are already assured of being bottom at Christmas, which on all but one previous occasion has meant relegation from the Premier League at the end of the season, but a victory on Sunday will give them hope.
They actually travel in search of a first point under new manager Paul Jewell, and an end of their seven-match losing run, but the defence will have to be on their toes as Newcastle has scored four times as many league goals as the Rams (24 to six).
The Rams have been hit by injury heading into the game with Andy Griffin out with a calf injury. Injury clouds hang over David Jones with a groin problem and Matt Oakley has a thigh strain, though the skipper is expected to be fit. Other good news for the Rams is that Stephen Pearson is back in training following a dead leg in the home defeat against Middlesbrough.
Rams defender Jay McEverley is looking forward to the game, he said: 'It will be a good game - especially with the way Newcastle is playing at the moment.
'If you go there it's going to be a battle. The braver players will come out on top - and we hope we will be coming out on top.
'It is time for us to step up to the plate and show what we're made of.'
For the home side Steven Taylor returns to the Newcastle United squad after recovering from a hamstring injury, but the England Under-21 captain is not a certain starter as Claudio Cacapa and David Rozehnal have impressed for the Magpies in Taylor's absence.
Newcastle (from): Given, Beye, N'Zogbia, Rozehnal, Cacapa, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Miller, Smith Martins, Harper, Emre, Viduka, Edgar, Enrique.
Derby (from): Bywater, Mears, Davis, Moore, McEveley, Edworthy, Leacock, Barnes, Oakley, Pearson, Lewis, Fagan, Howard, Miller, Teale, Earnshaw, Feilhaber, Jones, Price.
Referee - Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Date:Sunday December 23 2007
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