What a difference fifteen months makes, the last time these sides clashed at Pride Park both had just finished in the upper echelons of the table and were on the verge of The Premiership. On that May night Inigo Idiakez`s penalty miss put Derby at Wembley but just over a year later and Southampton come to Pride Park on the back of two consecutive league defeats and having barely stayed in the league last season, the less said about last season for the Rams the better!
A busy week in Derby saw the shock news of Alan Stubbs` forced retirement and the signing of Nacer Barazite on loan from Arsenal. The young Dutch midfielder made his debut in a behind closed doors friendly against Leicester City in a 3-1 win and set up two of Tito Villa`s hat trick with the Argentine hitman surely now pushing for a starting place.
Southampton have not started the season well and despite progression in the Carling Cup come into the game on the back of two defeats in the league. An opening day defeat away to FA Cup finalists Cardiff City was followed by a home defeat to promotion favourites Birmingham City with a late winner from former Saints striker Kevin Phillips. The Saints now largely have a young squad after some financial issues but still have experience sprinkled around the team in the form of Chris "they`re not good enough for the Premiership" Perry and former loan man Stern John who was leading scorer last season.
We have won one, drawn one and lost one and yet all some people want to tell us about is that we haven't won for 34 League games. They don't say we are unbeaten in two games.
Paul Jewell talking to the Evening Telegraph about the negativity currently surrounding the club.
Derby County Team News:
Nacer Barazite goes straight into the squad after signing on loan from Arsenal and his midweek reserve debut against Leicester. Tito Villa pushing for a spot in the starting line-up after a midweek hattrick in the same game. Mile Sterjovski also back in contention after scoring in his comeback for Australia on Wednesday.
Player to watch: Robbie Savage
Back in favour with Jewell, with a point to prove and few games under his belt could be the catalyst for the Derby midfield in the early stages of the season. Some way to go to bring all Derby fans back onside after his pre-season bust up and is an easy target for the boo boys but Robbie Savage firing on all cylinders should still be good enough for The Championship.
Southampton Team News:
Jack Cork goes straight into the Southampton squad after joining on loan from Chelsea to replace the Premiership bound Davies. Lee Holmes returns to his former club along with former Derby loanee Stern John.
Player to watch: Lee Holmes
Ex-Derby winger up against his former team and another with a point to prove after Jewell let him go in the summer. Started the season well and struck his first goal of the season in the Carling Cup win over Exeter.
Match Facts & Stats
Doncaster Rovers (H) 0-1
Lincoln City (H) 3-1 aet Ellington (3)
Bristol City (A) 1-1 Green
Cardiff City (A) 1-2 McGoldrick
Exeter City (A) 3-1 Holmes, McGoldrick 2
Birmingham City (H) 1-2 Perry
With both teams not exactly setting the league on fire in the early weeks of the season they will both be looking to get off the mark in what looks set to be another tense afternoon at Pride Park. Lee Holmes returns to Derby for the first time since his summer move and it`ll be interesting to see if the change of scenery has suited the former England youth captain who was never really given a fair chance under a string of managers in his spell here. Still strangely optimistic about the match so I`m going for a 1-0 victory with Rob Hulse getting off the mark for the season.
26th August v Preston North End (Carling Cup 2nd Round) Deepdale