Leicester City vs. Derby County
The Rams travel to their East Midlands rivals Leicester City on Saturday, to play the high flying foxes, who have made an excellent start to the season, having been promoted as League One champions earlier this year. Nigel Pearson`s side sit in seventh place in the table, and are only outside the play-off places as a result of their slightly inferior goal difference to that of Sheffield United. Saturday`s derby clash is the first of two away Championship fixtures in four days, and Nigel Clough`s side will be hoping to improve on a desperately poor away record, which has seen The Rams pick up just one point on the road from a possible 15 this season. They will have to be in top form, as the home side have lost just once on their own patch in the last twelve months.
Derby boss Nigel Clough is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his side over the next few days. 'These two will be tough ones, especially given our form away from home at the moment. But it is a great opportunity to put that behind us and go and get something on the road. They are two of the biggest clubs in the league as well, and both have had reasonable starts. It will be difficult but sometimes they are the best places to go when we are looking to get results.'
Foxes striker Matty Fryatt is happy with his own personal start to the season. Speaking to the official Leicester City website, he said: 'I am obviously pleased with how I have started. The goals I have scored have mainly gone on to help us win the games. I obviously scored a lot of goals last season but it doesn't necessarily carry over into this one but after missing pre-season I was able to come back, score and get up and running again. It was nice to get the first one then get some confidence and go on a run. Goals mean everything to strikers. With the goals issue, most forwards thrive on that confidence.'
Leicester City Team News:
Nigel Pearson has no worries about the fitness of any of his players. Frustrating to say the least, given the tendency of Derby players to become severely injured, seemingly in the most innocuous circumstances. Striker Martyn Waghorn could start after his goal in the 1-1 draw in The Foxes' away game at Coventry City. Steve Howard set up his goal, and will probably play. Ex-Rams skipper, Matt Oakley, is expected to start. Do not be surprised if one of the Wembley heroes notch a goal, after all, they did so often for us in this league.
Player to watch: Matt Oakley
Smooth midfielder with an eye for goal as we all remember. He was part of the spine of our 2007 promotion season.
Derby County Team News:
Striker Kris Commons and defenders Jake Buxton, Dean Leacock and Paul Connolly, are all available for the clash in Leicester after recovering from their respective injuries, providing Nigel Clough with a massive boost, in addition to a defensive selection headache. Jay McEvely performed well, and notched an excellent goal after a determined, lung-busting run, during the 3-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday, but with the return of three central defenders and the good form of Dean Moxey, its possible he will drop out. Miles Addison, Chris Porter, Paul Green, Steven Davies, Giles Barnes, Stephen Pearson, Ben Pringle and James Vaughan are all still absent, so the injury problems are far from gone. Paul Dickov is ineligible to face his parent club, having impressed, and been involved in two goals against Wednesday.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Everyone knows Kris has the ability to play at the highest level, but his consistency remains his biggest problem. He is due a performance, and hopefully he will play some part on Saturday, and prove to Nigel Clough he has a big part to play this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Sheffield Wednesday (h) 3-0
Cardiff City (a) 1-6
Bristol City (h) 1-0
Crystal Palace (a) 0-1
Barnsley (h) 2-3
Last 5: Leicester City
Coventry City (a) 1-1
Middlesbrough (a) 1-0
Preston North End (h) 1-2
Watford (a) 3-3
Peterborough United (h) 1-1
Middlesbrough vs. Derby County, Tuesday 20 October 2009 20:00, The Coco-Cola Football League Championship