Bristol City (A)
With a win finally under his belt Paul Jewell has stated Derby can now look forward to fixtures without the winless streak hanging over them. Certainly after Ellington equalised on Tuesday night the Rams looked a different side and started to play the football they looked capable of at times in pre-season. Jewell admitted all the problems aren`t now magically solved and that the fans shouldn`t get carried away with this victory in the same way they shouldn`t have done after the Doncaster defeat and will need to continue to be patient with the newly forming team. It`s nice to go into the televised match with a hint of optimism off the back of a come from behind win, falling behind in a similar game last season would have seen head drops and the inevitable defeat but at last the team are starting to show some fight and spirit.
Bristol City surprised many people last season and were unlucky to lose out in the play-off final when Hull City claimed their place in the Premiership. Manager Gary Johnson, once a target for the Rams, has put together a winning side and, bolstered by the signing of Nicky Maynard for a club record fee in the summer, will be looking to the top end of the table again this time around. Started with an opening day victory over Blackpool and a midweek league cup success, with Steve Brooker scoring in both, and will be looking to continue the run in the first league match at Ashton Gate.
The Sky Sports cameras will provide an early chance for those not travelling to see how the Rams fair in their first competitive away game of the season, it could be an interesting clash between two sides looking to establish themselves in the top half and hopefully higher come next May.
It's a massive game, one of the fixtures you were looking for when the fixtures came out.
Gary Johnson talking to bbc.co.uk
He's frustrating but he's brave in the box and, just when you are about to drag him off, he'll stick one in the top corner.
Paul Jewell tells the Evening Telegrpah about the merits of Nathan Ellington!
Bristol City Team News:
Adriano Basso has recovered from a thigh strain to claim his place back in the squad but Christian Ribeiro is out for up to twelve months with anterior cruciate ligament damage.
Player to watch: Nicky Maynard
Scored for fun at Crewe last season prompting City to take a chance and splash out a club record fee. Unproven at Championship level but looks to have all the attributes to make it at this level and possibly higher. Derby`s defence will have to be on their toes to keep Maynard at bay as he looks to establish himself in the Bristol attack.
Derby County Team News:
Alan Stubbs set to miss out with knee injury, Dean Leacock missing due to operation. Robbie Savage back in consideration after starting on Tuesday and an apology to Jewell with the promise to knuckle down in training. Ruben Zadkovich back from the Olympics but has a slight groin strain and not due to feature for two weeks. Eddie Lewis, Gary Teale and Benny Feilhaber all moved on during the week although none of the three would have expected to feature in this game.
Player to watch: Nathan Ellington
Scored a hat trick in the midweek league cup win over Lincoln which, let`s hope, may prove to be a pivotal point in the season. Looks to be starting to enjoy his football again which can only be a good thing for Derby and if he starts to recapture his form from the last time he linked up with Jewell he could be the focal point of the new Rams attack and score the goals to keep us at the right end of the table.
Match Facts & Stats
Doncaster Rovers (H) 0-1
Lincoln City (H) 3-1 aet Ellington (3)
Blackpool (A) 1-0 Brooker
Peterborough United (H) 2-1 Carey, Brooker
It`s going to be a close match but with the optimism (and relief) in the squad after the midweek league cup victory and Ellington boosted by his hat-trick Derby to take it 2-1 with 'The Duke` to open his league account.
23rd August v Southampton (Coca-Cola Championship) Pride Park