The Big Match Preview: Reading (A)
Following the excellent 1-1 draw with leaders Southampton, The Rams are back in action with a midweek fixture against mid-table Reading.
The Royals are on a good run - unbeaten in five - and are creeping up the table after a surprisingly poor start, despite selling star man Shane Long to West Bromwich Albion.
The match will be tough for The Rams, but if they wish to stay in the play-off places they will probably have to pick up at least a point with a very tough-looking match against third placed Middlesbrough at the weekend.
Rams defender Russell Anderson is relishing the run of games coming up: 'It's another hard game for us - and they start to come thick and fast now,' said Anderson.
'We were resilient against Southampton, which was good to see, and I think we'll have to be equally resilient at Reading if we are to get something from the game.
'The lads have made a fantastic start and that's 20 points we've got now from 11 games.
'It's a nice positive start and with the difficult games we've got coming up, it's imperative we keep that going and try to pick up points as and when we can to keep the momentum going.'
Reading striker Noel Hunt has picked out the game as a key one for his side: 'Tonight is a big game for us. We've taken the season in stages, we had a slow start, we got ourselves out of that rut, hopefully that's it for the season.
'It's a massive game, we're at home, we'll be expected to go at them.
'Derby have always had the potential, massive fan base, good club, a couple of boys up front are on fire so it's important we keep them quiet.'
The Royals Team News:
Reading's dangerous winger Jimmy Kebe may miss out on the game after a month on the sidelines.
Midfielder Jordan Obita might be involved for Brian McDermott's team.
Player to watch: Mathieu Manset
Powerhouse Manset has put in a string of impressive performances this season.
The burly striker has scored important and spectacular goals this season and will be a handful for the Rams defence.
The Rams Team News:
The Rams have been struck by the news that five-goal striker Steve Davies is out for 12 weeks with a fractured skull.
Young striker Callum Ball will be in Nigel Clough's plans as Davies recovers from the injury.
Russell Anderson will continue to deputise for the injured John Brayford.
Player to watch: Jamie Ward
With Steve Davies out injured, some responsibility will fall on Jamie Ward to get on the goal trail again.
He only has one this season but his performances have been impressive and the Brummie will be keen to get on the scoresheet at the ground where he scored a screamer last season.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby County last 5:
Southampton (h) 1-1
Leicester City (a) 0-4
Barnsley (h) 1-1
Millwall (h) 3-0
Nottingham Forest (a) 1-2
Reading last 5:
Reading (a) 1-0
Middlesbrough (h) 0-0
Bristol City (a) 3-2
Coventry City (a) 1-1
Doncaster Rovers (h) 2-0
Middlesbrough vs. Derby County, Sat 22nd October, 15:00pm, The Championship