After a lucky point in front of the Sky camera`s on Monday night Derby take on another London club in the shape of Watford as they look to get their season back on track. Whilst it is now one win in nine in the league and another poor performance The Ram`s will be looking to build on the come from behind result and look to regain some of the form that saw them unbeaten at home since late August until the visit of Crystal Palace. Watford currently sit just above Derby in 17th place and ahead of them on goal difference and have started to show signs of improvement since their change in manager last month.
Nathan Ellington will be allowed to line-up against his former side under the terms of his loan as it is a season long deal with a view to a permanent transfer and he will be joined by fellow former Hornet Jordan Stewart. Paul Jewell, fresh from the club dismissing reports his future was in doubt, will have some tough choices to make for his starting eleven after some below par performances on Monday night. Will Ellington and Varney continue up front if Hulse recovers from his virus and will Powell continue in the centre of defence? The midfield balance has been out in previous matches as well with Addison looking tired and none of the wide players particularly showing the form to demand inclusion in the side.
Watford have had a change in manager in recent weeks with Aidy Boothroyd finally running out of time and Brendan Rogers coming from his coaching role at Chelsea to take charge of a side for the first time. The Hornets have plenty of fire power in former Ram`s Tommy Smith and Gregorz Rasziak and they are ably backed up by the Hungarian Tamás Priskin who has been in the goals in recent weeks including a strike against Spurs in their league cup quarter-final. Their league form has picked up since the appointment of Rogers as their new boss with their only loss coming at St Andrews` since he took the job on 24th November.
'I spoke to the chairman on Monday and he's assured me there's not a problem.
'I know it's not going great, I'm not stupid and I've been here before but we've had a tough season.'
Paul Jewell talking to Radio Derby about the speculation surrounding his job.
Derby County Team News:
Paul Connolly has been ruled out with a knee injury but Giles Barnes is in the squad again after his return to the side on Monday although he won`t start in this match. Nathan Ellington is free to play against his parent club.
Player to watch: Nathan Ellington
The saviour on Monday night with another ice cool penalty and an unstoppable injury time volley. Now has nine goals to his name but with only three of them in the league Paul Jewell has challenged The Duke to find his Carling Cup form in the league. Not a target man in the same mould as Rob Hulse so will need more ball to feet service to be at his most effective.
Watford Team News:
Jay DeMerit and Mart Poom are still absentees and Ross Jenkins could be a doubt with an ankle injury.
Player to watch: Tommy Smith
Watford`s leading scorer this season and a player the Pride Park faithful know all about after his spell here under George Burly. Always a tricky player and appears to have found the finishing touch that seemed to desert him at times whilst at Derby and has found the net twelve times already in the league so far this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Burnley (A) 0-3
Stoke City (A) 1-0 Ellington
Crystal Palace (H) 1-3 Varney
Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 0-3
Charlton Athletic (A) 2-2 Ellington (2)
Doncaster Rovers (H) 1-1 Smith
Tottenham Hotspur (H) 1-2 Priskin
Birmingham City (A) 2-3 Priskin, Jenkins
Norwich City (H) 2-1 Priskin, Smith
Coventry City (H) 2-1 Smith, O`Toole
Another game Derby need to pick up a result in as it is against a club in a similar position to themselves, a performance would be nice but the result is by far the most important thing at the moment and Derby will take a scrappy match 2-1.
26th Dec v Preston North End (Coca Cola Championship) Deepdale