Date:Friday October 2 2009
Pride Park Stadium
The Rams are on home soil to take on Sheffield Wednesday following the humiliating 6-1 drubbing at the Hands of Cardiff City in Wales on Tuesday. Brian Laws` Owls are currently occupying 13th place in the Championship; 3 points ahead of Derby. The Rams are something of a bogey team for Wednesday, having won five of the last 6 clashes between the sides. One of those victories was in the dire Premiership season, with The Rams claiming only their second win of the campaign, on penalties, in an F.A. Cup replay at Hillsborough. The last meeting between the sides ended 1-0 to The Rams in Sheffield, as Rob Hulse nodded a first half winner which gave his side some breathing space in the battle to avoid relegation. Although earlier in the season this time around, a win over Wednesday would send Nigel Clough`s side a little clearer of the drop-zone.
Robbie Savage admits the defeat at Cardiff is way short of what is acceptable at this level, but he thinks three points is a possibility, and has called for more backing on the sidelines: "We have to dig in now and put a performance in on Saturday,' he told dcfc.co.uk, "For the fans to see six goals conceded last night was not good enough. We need the fans behind us because it is a big game on Saturday and we need three points, simple as that.'
Brian Laws is expecting a difficult encounter when his side take to the field on Saturday, and likened Derby`s defeat to an experience his side had last season. 'Make no bones about it, this is an important game that will not be easy. Derby took a real hiding at Cardiff and will be smarting from that. You look at most of the teams that have taken a heavy defeat and it's a fair and honest bet that they bounce back in the next game. Look at us last year at Reading, we lost 6-0 and we responded in our next game. So we know what to expect - a backlash. When I heard the score at Cardiff, I thought it was the worst possible one for us. Great for Cardiff but not for us!'
The Rams have an injury list that could just about form a decent Championship team by itself: Paul Connolly, Miles Addison, Giles Barnes, Chris Porter, Paul Green, Kris Commons, Steven Davies and Stephen Pearson. Dean Leacock is expected to be touch and go, but Jake Buxton may return earlier than expected from a hernia operation to provide a welcome boost to Nigel Clough`s injury ravaged defence. James Vaughan is expected to partner Rob Hulse in attack having missed the Cardiff game with a knee injury, and midfielder Robbie Savage should shake off a slight knock to play.
The loanee striker has impressed with his harrying and energy since making the switch from Everton until January. He gives The Rams raw pace upfront, something which has been missing in recent seasons.
Brian Laws has no injury worries apart from Marcus Tudgay, the ex-Ram who is edging back to full fitness and made a substitute appearance in their last fixture against Crystal Palace. He could replace Luke Varney, who cannot play against his parent club under Football League ruling.
The 'old player` coming back to haunt his former employers theory, coupled with his excellent recent form make the ex-Ram the one to watch.
Last 5: Derby County
Cardiff City (a) 1-6
Bristol City (h) 1-0
Crystal Palace (a) 0-1
Barnsley (h) 2-3
Sheffield United (h) 0-1
Last 5: Sheffield Wednesday
Crystal Palace (a) 0-0
Cardiff City (h) 3-1
Sheffield United (a) 2-3
Middlesbrough (h) 1-3
Nottingham Forest (h) 1-1
Leicester City vs. Derby County, Saturday 17 October 2009 15:00, The Coco-Cola Football League Championship
Date:Friday October 2 2009
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