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Midweek Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Derby County

Boro
vs.
The Rams

Pride Park Stadium

08/03/2011

19:45

Derby take on a struggling Middlesbrough side this evening and will attempt to score more points on the road, where, ironically, they have been decent recently.

The Rams have notched eight points from a possible 15 since the turn of the year, which would be a reasonable return for a play-off-chasing side, something Derby clearly are not.

Away wins against the bottom two sides, Preston and Sheffield United, have raised expectations on the road (although it's easy to raise expectations when a big fat nothing is anticipated) so The Rams will look to pick up further away points, as their form on home soil is dreadful.

Boro have struggled in their second season since relegation to the Championship and sit in 20th place on 37 points, two places and three points behind Derby.

Vital Quotes:

Rams manager Nigel Clough wants to stay strong on the road and avoid conceding silly goals: 'We have to try and stay as solid as we have been in the last few games. To keep three clean sheets in the last five games, in the position we are in, gives us a basis,' said Clough.


'There were a few mad minutes in the Doncaster game which saw us concede goals but, generally speaking, teams have found it much harder to create chances against us.

'We are quite pleased with the way we have scrapped in most of the games recently.'

Boro manager Tony Mowbray acknowledges that his side are struggling: 'We are fully aware of where we are.

'We have got to get some wins and we need three points against Derby.

'The team know there is inconsistency in their performances.

'We won 4-0 at Bristol City and won well at Millwall, while last Tuesday (1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest) should give us confidence, so we will put Saturday behind us.

'We have to find the same intensity and drive we displayed against Forest.'

Boro Team News:

New goalkeeper Paul Smith will start for Boro after the club suffered a goalkeeping crisis.

Striker Kris Boyd left to join Forest and will not be available for selection.

Scott McDonald and Julio Arca are both doubts and will face late fitness tests.

Player to watch: Paul Smith

On-loan Forest keeper denied Derby in the 1-1 draw at Pride Park in the F.A. Cup two seasons ago.

He can be unpredicatable, mostly on crosses, but he kept The Rams out with some brilliant last ditch saves.

Mind you, we won the replay 3-2 so I'm grateful for him for that.

The Rams Team News:

Tomasz Cywka will miss out on the game and could be out for as long as a month after picking up a knee injury on Saturday.

Ban Davies could come into the side to replace the Polish midfielder.

Defensive duo Russell Anderson and Dean Leacock have returned to training but will not feature against Boro.

Gareth Roberts will play through the pain barrier at left-back, as he continues to suffer with a bruised shin.

Player to watch: Paul Green

Midfielder Green showed glimpses of his first-season form in the draw against Barnsley.

His goals have dried up in recent times, but if played in midfield he can prove threatening.

Match Facts & Stats

The Rams' last five:

Barnsley 0-0

Doncaster Rovers (h) 1-3

Sheffield United (a) 1-0

Hull City (h) 0-1

Scunthorpe United (a) 0-0

Boro's last five:

Reading (a) 2-5

Nottingham Forest (h) 1-1

Queens Park Rangers (h) 0-3

Millwall (a) 3-2

Swansea City (h) 3-4

Next Fixtures:

Derby County vs. Swansea City, Sat 12 Mar, 15:00, The Championship


Writer:RobB
Date:Tuesday March 8 2011
Time: 3:13PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Newcastle 46 29 7 10 94 45
P Brighton 46 28 9 9 93 34
3 Reading 46 26 7 13 85 4
4 Sheff Wed 46 24 9 13 81 15
5 Huddersfield 46 25 6 15 81 -2
6 Fulham 46 22 14 10 80 28
7 Leeds Utd 46 22 9 15 75 14
8 Norwich 46 20 10 16 70 16
9 Derby County 46 18 13 15 67 4
10 Brentford 46 18 10 18 64 10
11 Preston 46 16 14 16 62 1
12 Cardiff 46 17 11 18 62 -1
13 Aston Villa 46 16 14 16 62 -1
14 Barnsley 46 15 13 18 58 -3
15 Wolves 46 16 10 20 58 -4
16 Ipswich 46 13 16 17 55 -10
17 Bristol City 46 15 9 22 54 -6
18 Q.P.R. 46 15 8 23 53 -14
19 Birmingham 46 13 14 19 53 -19
20 Burton 46 13 13 20 52 -14
21 Forest 46 14 9 23 51 -10
R Blackburn 46 12 15 19 51 -12
R Wigan 46 10 12 24 42 -17
R Rotherham 46 5 8 33 23 -58
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