Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Friday January 11 2008
Rams v Wigan Preview
Derby County v Wigan Athletic
Saturday 12th January 2008, 3:00 pm
It`s a huge game for the Rams on Saturday with Wigan Athletic the visitors to Pride Park. It`s also a big game for Rams boss Paul Jewell, as he spent six successful years at the JJB Stadium. He joined the club in 2001, but resigned a day after he kept them in the Premier League in 2006-07.
With the Rams new signings having a week to blend into the squad, Saturday`s team could look different and the Rams faithful will be hoping for different result at 4.45pm on Saturday.
A win is paramount for the Rams to close the gap on the rest of the league, and if they do get the three points it will be the first for Jewell in his rein at Pride Park.
Jewell was asked on the Rams official web site: What it would be like to 'sit down in the home dug-out, he joked: 'I've never sat down in a dug-out in my life, I wish I could!'
The gaffer, to his players, is an animated character on the sidelines, and he added: 'I will be keyed up like I am for every game, and desperate for my team to give their best for the supporters.
'Just because it's Wigan, it doesn't mean that we get four points if we beat them and it doesn't mean that they get four points if they beat us.
'It is another game where we need to get the three points and in our situation, wherever we get the points from, we'll take them from anyone.'
His counterpart Steve Bruce is looking for a victory to continue there relegation fight. He said;
'We are showing a steady improvement - I thought we might be adrift after losing to Bolton,' he said.
'It was a good Christmas and new year. The only real blip was losing to Aston Villa when we deserved to get something out of the game.
'To get a point at Liverpool and then a cup win at Sunderland has given everyone a boost.'
With former Wigan boss Jewell now in charge of Derby - there is an added spice to the fixture.
'Paul will want to put one over his old club but we are ready for the challenge,' added Bruce.
In team news the Rams will hand debuts to new signings Robbie Savage, Hossam Ghaly, Emanuel Villa and Laurent Robert. Young keeper Lewis Price has recovered from a hamstring strain and will take his spot in goal, and Kenny Miller (groin), Claude Davis (knee), Andy Todd (groin) are all expected to shake off niggles to take their spots in the squad.
Jay McEveley and Stephen Pearson are out with long term injuries and Rams skipper Matt Oakley may also miss the game as he ponders a move to Championship side Leicester City
Wigan defender Titus Bramble is available after completing his ban, and striker Antoine Sibierski could play after recovering from a knee injury. Midfielder Ryan Taylor is unlikely to be risked after an ankle injury.
Derby (from): Price, Oakley, Mills, Todd, Johnson, Barnes, Mears, Moore, Feilhaber, Holmes, Teale, Savage, Lewis, Robert, Miller, Fagan, Macken, Hinchliffe, Davis, Earnshaw, Griffin, Edworthy.
Wigan (from): Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Bent, Heskey, Aghahowa, Granqvist, Olembe, Skoko, Cotterill, Sibierski, Pollitt.
Referee:Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Date:Friday January 11 2008
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|1. Derby County||18||10||5||3||+18||35|
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