The Big Match Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
Pride Park Stadium
The Rams are in desperate need of points following a run of four defeats in a row which has seen them rapidly slide down the table.
In fact, following the excellent early season form, Derby have won only one game in the last ten and the 2010/11 campaign already looks to be going the same way as the 2009/10 season.
Positive signs are the return of numerous key players including influential captain, Shaun Barker, and the goalscoring debut of on loan Hungarian striker, Tamas Priskin, but they need to return to winning ways to avoid yet another relegation battle.
Brighton have suffered a similar, though not as extreme, slump after topping the table early in the season following promotion from League One.
They will provide a stern test but it is imperative to pick up some points, especially with the trip to bogey-team Crystal Palace on Friday evening.
Paul Green is hopeful that Derby can end their losing run against Brighton: 'Brighton had a great start to the season but, like us, have dipped a bit,' said Green.
'But they had a good win on Saturday, so will be buzzing from that.
'However, we'll be aiming to disappoint them at Pride Park.
'We've been unlucky in games - it just seems to be going that way for us at the moment.
'But when we get that next win, I'm sure we can get back on track.
'It's a home game and we've put on some good performances at home so far this season.
'We'll look forward to it and, hopefully, get back to winning ways.'
Brighton boss, Gus Poyet, is aware of the threat Derby pose, despite their recent slump: 'They started very well, similar to us. They've had a few bad results, lost a few strikers which doesn't help, and they are trying to re-group. It's going to change for them.
'We haven't been winning away from home. We've had great chances to do it and didn't take them.
'This is another chance but we know it is going to be very difficult, because they need to win as well.'
The Rams Team News:
Despite returning to the Derby line-up for the last two games, John Brayford is still struggling with a thigh injury.
On the plus side for Nigel Clough, Shaun Barker, Paul Green and James Bailey are fit enough to keep their places in the team.
On-loan forward, Tamas Priskin, is set to continue in a striking role.
Player to watch: Tamas Priskin
Although never a regular scorer, on-loan Ipswich Town man Priskin tucked home a confident strike against West Ham like he was a 20 goal a season man.
It was a lovely goal from his only chance of the game and he could be vital in ending Derby's winless run.
The Seagulls Team News:
Brighton full back, Marcos Painter, is out with a hamstring injury.
Former Spain international, Vicente Rodriguez and Gonzalo Jara Reyes are also ruled out.
Player to watch: Craig Mackail-Smith
The £2.5million man has a brilliant scoring record and is a lethal finisher and a tireless runner.
If Derby had him in their side they would certainly be higher up the Championship table.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby County last 5:
West Ham United (a) 1-3
Hull City (h) 0-2
Peterborough United (a) 2-3
Cardiff City (h) 0-3
Portsmouth (h) 3-1
Middlesbrough (a) 0-2
Brighton & Hove Albion last 5:
Coventry City (h) 2-1
Southampton (a) 0-3
Barnsley (a) 0-2
Watford (a) 0-1
Birmingham City (a) 0-0
Crystal Palace vs. Derby County, Fri 2nd December, 19:45pm, The Championship