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Wounded Rams in for the Slaughter? Derby Preview
Blues play their second home match in five days with Nigel Clough’s injury hit Derby County side visiting St Andrews today. Blues will be looking for revenge for the 3-2 defeat earlier this season at Pride Park whilst Clough will be looking for points to keep Derby out of the relegation scrap that is slowly forming.
Derby lie in 12th place in the Championship, yet only two points separate them from Blues who lie six places lower. The Rams come into the game in a wretched run of form having not won in seven games and only taken three points from their last eighteen possible. Only Middlesbrough (11) and Bristol City (12) have lost more away games than Derby this season in the league.
Nigel Clough has some major injury issues, with eight players having missed the trip to Cardiff City in the week. Jamie Ward is closer to regaining his place but is expected to be out, along with Will Hughes, James O’Connor, Kieron Freeman and Mark O’Brien. John Brayford could be out for a while with a hamstring injury and Derby are hoping that Craig Bryson will be able to return for this game.
After a frustrating draw against Blackpool Blues will be looking to get points against Derby County to try to haul themselves from the relegation mixer. Blues will however be without Mitch Hancox as the young left back has tweaked his hamstring and will miss the remainder of March whilst Steven Caldwell will hopefully return from illness. With injuries still pervasive in defence Clark has the choice of not putting any cover on the bench at all for defensive positions or handing a first team call up to Jack Deaman, Emmitt Delfouneso, James Fry or even rookie full back Amari’i Bell.
Keith Fahey rejoins the squad after injury and I suspect will be on the bench as Callum Reilly and Jonathan Spector will continue in the middle. Should Caldwell be fit I think Shane Ferguson will continue wide left meaning Nathan Redmond will continue to sit on the bench.
This is an important game for Blues and one I honestly think that they can win. There were promising signs on Tuesday night and with a bit more clinical instinct in the box we will get goals – however it’s all down to how the defence lines up with Blues having possibly just three fit out-and-out senior defenders. Interestingly, despite their injuries this Derby blog thinks they will win the game – let’s hope he’s wrong.