Preview: Bristol City vs. Derby County
The Rams have lost three games out of the last four and will be eager to halt the slide and get back into the play-off places. Nigel Clough's side fell from 4th to 7th as a result of the 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City. Saturday's opponents Bristol City sit in 18th place and seven points behind Derby, but have hit decent form in recent weeks under Keith Millen following a poor start to the campaign under Steve Coppell.
Dean Leacock is keen to play the next game after a poor showing against Norwich, in which he allowed Chris Martin a free header to put Norwich: 'Any time is a good time to get a win but we've lost two in a row now and we've not been used to that recently,' said The Rams defender.
'It's not good enough and it's important that we bounce back quickly and get a positive result down in Bristol.
'We know it's going to be tough. They are in a good vein of form at the moment.
'We've got to train hard and, hopefully, we have got the players who can turn things around.
'The Norwich result was very disappointing but, hopefully, we can bounce back and go on another run.'
Bristol City midfielder Lee Johnson spent a month at Pride Park on loan last season, and has spoken highly of his former teammate Robbie Savage, and manager Nigel Clough: 'I think Robbie loves it at Derby and he's become a talisman for the club. Nigel Clough has got the best out of him and, although he is not a genius on the ball, he has great awareness of where he needs to be and that streetwise savvy and football knowledge every team needs.
'He loves putting his foot in and his head in and, no matter what people think of him, he affects the game, the crowd and the referee. There's an art to that, but I can tell you he'll have nothing on me come Saturday!'
On Clough, Johnson added: 'Nigel Clough is an old-style manager with a modern twist rather than a new-style manager with an old-fashioned twist.
'Given the wage bill he inherited and the problems he's had to sort out behind the scenes, he has done a brilliant job there.'
The Robins Team News:
Ex-Rams striker Jon Stead has shaken off an ankle knock and will partner Brett Pitman in attack. The Robins frontman played an important role Derby´s promotion season in 06/07. Dangerous frontman Nicky Maynard, who netted twice against Derby on the penultimate day of last season, is still out with a long-term injury.
Player to watch: Brett Pitman
After initially struggling for a goal following his move from Bournemouth in the summer, striker Pitman has notched three goals in the last two games. He is a good natural finisher.
The Rams Team News:
Frank Fielding is set to make his final appearance for The Rams as his loan deal runs out. He will return to Blackburn Rovers with great credit after some good performances. Shefki Kuqi is also returning to his parent club after the game, but he is not as likely to feature with both Luke Moore and Chris Porter ahead of him. No long term injury victims are likely to return, but Alberto Bueno could return after a couple of weeks out with a hamstring injury.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
Commons just can't stop scoring. He netted his 11th of the season against Norwich and is currently scoring more than a goal every two games, a remarkable achievement for an attacking midfielder. He is currently second top scorer in the league behind Cardiff City's England international Jay Bothroyd.
Match Facts & Stats
Ipswich Town (a) 2-0
Leicester City (a) 0-2
Scunthorpe United (h) 3-2
Norwich City (h) 1-2
Preston North End (h) 1-1
Swansea City (a) 1-0
Leeds United (a) 1-3
Leicester City (h) 2-0
Sheffield United (h) 3-0
Derby County vs. Reading, Sat 18th December, 15:00pm, The Championship