The Big Match Preview: Derby County vs. Watford
Pride Park Stadium
The Rams go into the fourth game of the season in search of their first maximum points haul against Watford.
The Rams find themselves just outside of the early-season relegation zone with two points, despite a performance at the weekend which merited three points against recently-relegated Wolves.
Gianfranco Zola's side have begun the league campaign very will with six points from a possible nine and an impressive come-from-behind win on opening day at Crystal Palace and they will certainly ask questions of Nigel Clough's side, but if Derby play with a similar passing style as they did at Molineux, a win and the first happy Saturday of the season could well be on the cards.
Nigel Clough is certainly pleased with the start his side has made to the season despite their lowly early season position. 'It would certainly take us into the break in better spirits,' Clough said, 'but we want to keep the performances going because you know if you keep playing well, the results will come.
'Likewise, if you are playing poorly and sneaking 1-0 wins, that doesn't continue.
'We are happy with the performances. For the players' sake, we just want them to get their rewards.'
The Rams Team News:
Top-scorer and all-round hero Jake Buxton could return to the Derby side after the bout of illness which cost him a place in the Derby side for the last two matches.
Theo Robinson could find himself back in the starting 11 after netting the late equalising goal against Wolves last week.
Player to watch: Craig Bryson
Last season's player of the year Craig Bryson had not reached the level of performance o last season before the Wolves game where he was back to his busy self.
He is a key man for The Rams and can run the midfield on his day.
The Hornets Team News:
Former Rams target John Eustace is out of the Pride Park clash, joining fellow midfielder Prince Buaben on the sidelines.
Summer signing, the excellent Fitz Hall, is not ready to play for the side but will resume training in the week.
Player to watch: Manuel Almunia
Former Arsenal stopper Almunia signed for Watford in the summer as the marquee signing.
Although much-maligned at The Gunners, he is clearly a gifted goalkeeper and a great shot-stopper so The Rams will have some trouble getting past him.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby's last matches:
Sheffield Wednesday (h) 2-2
Bolton Wanderers (a) 0-2
Wolverhampton Wanderers (a) 1-1
Watford's last matches:
Birmingham City (h) 2-0
Ipswich Town (h) 0-1
Crystal Palace (a) 3-2
Huddersfield vs. Derby, Sat 15th September 2012, nPower Championship