Preview: Derby County vs. Birmingham City
Pride Park Stadium
The Rams' pre-season schedule ends with a match against Premier League Birmingham City. The Blues have enjoyed a good start to their own pre-season with three consecutive wins over Asian opposition and Derby will be pleased at going undefeated thus far, with an impressive goals tally and a win over top-flight side Stoke City.
Nigel Clough sees the game against The Blues as an excellent chance to further test themselves against high quality opponents: 'Birmingham had a great season last year, they have great quality will certainly give us another worthwhile workout.
'We've been happy with how our pre-season has panned out and each game has seen a gradual step-up in the opposition.
'Birmingham will certainly be another test for us.'
Rams striker Kris Commons also made reference to the class Birmingham possess: 'Birmingham are a quality side, we saw that in the FA Cup last season and it will be a good test for us before the preparations step up next week to build up to Leeds.'
Nigel Clough's opposite number Alex McLeish hinted that the pre-season clash will not determine his side for the coming season: 'Fans should not read anything into the actual team that I pick for any game. The team against Derby, for example, is not likely to be the XI that I start the season with.'
The Rams Team News:
Rob Hulse and Robbie Savage are both likely to feature in the game having sat out the Stoke friendly with groin strains. There are no other fresh injuries for Nigel Clough to deal with although the news that Shaun Barker is set to miss the season-opener with Leeds in unwelcome.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
As always, Commons has shown his undoubted quality in pre-season with numerous goals and assists. We all must pray that he remains injury-free this season. It could well be the difference between top and bottom half positions.
The Blues Team News:
Player to watch: Nicola Zigic
Giant Serbian Zigic signed for The Blues from Valencia in the summer with a big reputations and a huge physical presence. He will present an even greater aerial threat than Stoke's tall forward line.
Match Facts & Stats
Pre Season results (first team):
Burton Albion (a) 1-0
Southend United (a) 1-1
Bournemouth (a) 3-3
Chesterfield (a) 5-4
Stoke City (h) 1-0
Leeds United vs. Derby County, Sat 7th August, 3pm, The Championship