The games are coming thick and fast again for Derby as they look to bounce back from the disappointment of the Crystal Palace reverse against league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux as Paul Jewell's side look to overcome the inconsistency that has plagued them in previous weeks.
The news coming out of Pride Park today has goalkeeper Roy Carroll suspended for two weeks after a 'dressing room incident' following the defeat to Palace so Stephen Bywater looks set to take over goal after being unlucky to have been dropped for the Irishman. James Tomkins has shown quality in patches since joining on loan from West Ham and his form, coupled with the return of Martin Albrechtsen, has added competition for the places at the heart of the Derby backline. Luke Varney looks set to keep his place up front so the place alongside him would seem to be down to fight between Rob Hulse and the Carling Cup hero Nathan Ellington.
Mick McCarthy has gradually moulded a youthful, attack minded side who have swept all before them so far this season as they have set the pace in the Championship virtually from day one. The front pairing of Chris Iwelumo and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake have been scoring goals for fun with twenty-seven between them and they have been ably backed up by an attack minded midfield in the shape of Michael Kightly, Matt Jarvis and former Ram David Jones. Wolves have won seven of the last nine and have only dropped points at home against Reading and Birmingham City so far this season and currently sit three points clear at the top and seven points clear of Reading in third place.
'Our squad isn't strong enough with all the injuries. The inconsistency is unbelievable at the moment. The players when we get them fit are a decent side but we just can't get the XI on the park.'
Paul Jewell talking to Radio Derby about the injuries plaguing his squad
Wolverhampton Wanderers Team News:
Jody Craddock is still out with a foot injury and Mick McCarthy may not risk Matt Jarvis who is coming back from a hamstring injury
Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo
Has recovered superbly from his horror miss for Scotland and has been scoring on a regular basis for Wolves so far this season with thirteen goals in the league and fifteen in total on route to claiming the November player of the month award for the Championship.
Derby County Team News:
Martin Albrechtsen could be back in contention after returning to the bench on Saturday although the game will come to soon for Giles Barnes. Bywater set to start after the suspension of Carroll.
Player to watch: Luke Varney
Scored his first Derby goal at the weekend and has been lively since his arrival from Charlton. Looks to have cemented his place up front and his pace, if the service is right, could be the weapon the Derby frontline has been missing.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Southampton (A) 2-1 Jones, Iwelumo
Blackpool (H) 2-0 Iwelumo (2)
Sheffield United (A) 3-1 Iwelumo (2), Ebanks-Blake
Birmingham City (H) 1-1 Ebanks-Blake
Queens Park Rangers (A) 0-1
Sheffield Wednesday (H) 3-0 Commons, Addison, Stewart
Ipswich Town (A) 0-2
Preston North End (H) 2-2 Hulse, Stewart
Stoke City (A) 1-0 Ellington
Crystal Palace (H) 1-2 Varney
After the disappointment of Saturday Derby will need to be at their very best if they are to get anything from the trip to Molineux and despite an improved performance Wolves will take this 2-0 to further improve their position at the top of the table.
15th Dec v Charlton Athletic (Coca Cola Championship) The Valley