Preview: Derby County vs. Crystal Palace
Pride Park Stadium
Relegation-haunted Crystal Palace make the trip north to face a Rams side who, despite the recent defeat to Ipswich Town, have the second best home record outside the top six. The Eagles are one point and one place above Sheffield Wednesday, the team in the highest relegation place, so Palace will be fighting for their lives and should not be taken lightly. Derby must realise that they are not safe until it is impossible to be caught, something they seemed to cotton on to during the decent 0-0 draw at Barnsley. Earlier in the season, Palace beat Derby 1-0, so Nigel Clough will be eager to see his side avoid being on the wrong en of a league double.
Rams manager Nigel Clough wants to end the season on a high so his side can go into next season full of confidence: 'It would take a freakish set of results for us to be dragged into it and so, after sweating for a few weeks, we can say we are nearly there,' he said.
'But we still want to put in good performances in the last three matches.
'Our aim is to stay unbeaten to the end of the season, and to get a win because even at this stage that would build confidence.
'If we did that, it would be good to take into the summer and the start of next season.'
Palace centre-back Johannes Ertl want to see his Palace team-mate Paddy Mcarthy score another wonder-goal at Pride Park after he notched with one against The Rams at Pride Park last season: 'I have said to Paddy in training this morning that he has to do it again,' said the amiable Austrian. 'It was an amazing goal, from so far out and I would love him to score another one like that.
'The match against Rangers was very disappointing but I am not a player to dwell on games that have gone. We are focussing on Derby now. It is a very winnable game and if we can get the points that will give us a massive boost before our final two games.'
Derby County Team News:
Chris Porter is looking for a starting berth after recovering from an ankle knock. Dean Moxey, Gilles Sunu and Gary Teale are all pushing for a place but Stephen Pearson is serving the second match of his two-match ban.
Player to watch: Tomasz Cywka
Polish striker Cywka was excellent in the draw against Barnsley and was denied a full debut goal by a goal-line clearance. Derby will be looking at him with a view to next season as his contract with Wigan expires at the end of the season.
Crystal Palace Team News:
Ex-Rams flop Claude Davis looks set to miss out after not being in the 16 for the last two games with a knee problem. Calvin Andrew and veteran striker Alan Lee may also miss out.
Player to watch: Darren Ambrose
Without attacking midfielder Ambrose, Palace would surely be already relegated. He has had his best goalscoring season and got the winning goal when the teams met earlier in the season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
Barnsley (a) 0-0
Ipswich Town (h) 1-3
Coventry City (a) 1-0
Leicester City (h) 1-0
QPR (a) 1-1
Last 5: Crystal Palace
QPR (h) 0-2
Preston North End (h) 3-1
Middlesbrough (a) 1-1
Watford (a) 3-1
Cardiff City (h) 1-2
Bristol City vs. Derby County, Saturday 24 April 2010 15:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship