Date:Friday January 20 2012
The Rams go into the clash against Burnley in great form, looking to make it six wins in a row in all competitions. An impressive haul of fifteen points from a possible eighteen has seen Nigel Clough`s team propel themselves up the table into eighth place, two points off the play-off places, but only one point ahead of the match against Eddie Howe`s Clarets side, who have won four of their last five Championship fixtures.
The last time the sides met Burnley took all three points courtesy of a 2-1 win at Pride Park. The result was harsh on The Rams but Burnley showed quality and have striker Jay Rodriguez spearheading their attack, who is in terrific form having netted in all but two of his side`s last five games. Rams striker Callum Ball is in a similar position, and much could rest on the performance of the two strikers.
Rams boss Nigel Clough believes his opposite number will tell his side to go out and win the game: 'Burnley have a lot of good attacking options and they're a good all-round side.
'I think they're at their best at Turf Moor and like any Eddie Howe side, they're an attacking outfit that likes to score goals.
'Burnley have had a good run of late and will be playing with an awful lot of confidence, very much like ourselves.'
Former Man City defender Ben Mee believes his new side Burnley should not be fearful when facing the in-form Rams following the impressive away win at Middlesbrough: 'We were all really confident and obviously we're confident now for Saturday, so hopefully we can play the same and get the same result.
'We're on a great run at the minute. Even the two games where we were beaten we could have done a little bit better, maybe in holding out, so I think it's going to be an exciting few months.'
Former West Ham man Junior Stanislas will miss out with a hamstring injury with Martin Paterson joining him on the sidelines.
Charlie Austin should return to the starting line-up to partner Rodriguez.
Burnley youth product Rodriguez netted fifteen goals in total last season and is already well on his way to bettering that total.
He has fifteen goals this season (four coming in a League Cup tie against Burton Albion) and is outshining fellow striker Charlie Austin who signed from Swindon Town a year ago.
Loan signing Ryan Noble could replace Nathan Tyson, who has suffered a minor setback, in the Derby squad.
Steve Davies is still not fit but is not too far off a return to the side.
Defender Barker has been in tremendous form since returning from injury, helping The Rams achieve three consecutive clean sheets.
His battle with Jay Rodriguez will be fascinating and the game could hinge on who comes out on top. On recent form, neither Barker nor his defensive partner Jason Shackell should be too worried.
Derby County last 5:
Coventry City (h) 1-0
Crystal Palace (h) 1-0
Hull City (a) 1-0
West Ham United (h) 2-1
Leeds United (h) 1-0
Burnley last 5:
Middlesbrough (a) 2-0
Norwich City (a) 1-4
Leeds United (a) 1-2
Hull City (h) 1-0
Doncaster Rovers (h) 3-0
Barnsley vs. Derby County, Tue 31st January, 19:45pm, The Championship
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Date:Friday January 20 2012
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