The Big Match Preview: Middlesbrough (A)
The Rams face the latest in a tough run of matches with a trip to an unhappy hunting ground: Middlesbrough.
Points at The Riverside Stadium have been hard to come by for The Rams in recent years but now may be a good time to play Boro, who have scored only once in the last five games, slipping five points away from leaders Southampton.
Derby also sit on 21 points and will be confident of taking something of one of their early play-off rivals given the impressive number of points Nigel Clough's men have accumulated on the road this season.
Nigel Clough is considering handing young starlet Mason Bennet his debut against Boro...because he has the school holidays coming up: 'Mason is someone we have to be patient with, but we can`t deny that we`re very excited about him,' he said.
'He's a fantastic prospect and playing in the Championship would certainly not faze him.
'We wanted to take him with us to Reading, but we were mindful that he had to be in at school nice and early the following day!
'It won't be a problem this weekend though, because he's breaking up for half-term next week.'
Boro Team News:
Influential former Celtic midfielder Barry Robson is suspended for the match after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Nottingham Forest.
Rhys Williams (groin), Matthew Bates (foot), Kevin Thomson (hamstring) and goalkeeper Carl Ikeme (hand) are also doubts for Tony Mowbray's side.
Player to watch: Marvin Emnes
Dutch striker Emnes has been in good form this season. Although his sensational early-season form has dropped off to a certain extent, he still most certainly possesses the class to score against defences at this level.
The Rams Team News:
Nathan Tyson has suffered yet another setback with his troublesome groin injury and is not in contention.
John Brayford is unavailable, as is Steven Davies, who underwent a five hour operation following a hefty head injury.
Player to watch: Theo Robinson
Theo 'Theeeeeeeeooo' Robinson certainly has his critics at Derby but he seems to be developing a knack of being in the right place at the right time to score for The Rams. Two close range strikes in his last two games is exactly the sort of determination and following in you want to see from your strikers and he seems to be becoming something of a cult hero for the Pride Park faithful.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby County last 5:
Reading (a) 2-2
Leicester City (a) 0-4
Barnsley (h) 1-1
Millwall (h) 3-0
eading last 5:
Nottingham Forest (a) 0-2
Millwall (h) 1-1
Reading (a) 0-0
Leicester City (h) 0-0
Ipswich Town (h) 0-0
Derby County vs. Portsmouth, Sat 29th October, 15:00pm, The Championship