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Preview: Derby County v Blues

We are trying to do is show that we can compete with those types of teams. We've done it really well so far and it's another opportunity to do it again.

Garry Monk

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture against the Rams at Pride Park.

Garry Monk asked if he thought it would be beneficial for Blues having extra preparation time on Derby, who played in the EFL Cup on Wednesday...
“No, not really. I think every team in this league is used to playing three games a week. They’re used to preparing in short periods of time, so it doesn’t really make a difference. Of course, in terms of recovery, in your mind it’s nice as a manager to recover players and do longer preparations because you can work on certain things you need to iron out. In terms of physically, those players at Derby will know come Saturday how they want to perform, the level they need to do it at and what they do on the pitch. It won’t make a difference in that sense, it’s going to be a tough game but one for us that we’re confident if we do what we do at the high level we know we can do it at, we’re in with a chance of making it a good game for them.”

Garry Monk asked if he was able to draw on the experiences of performing so well away from home already this season...
“I think that’s important to have it in the bank. The other side of it is the amount of numbers we take from home, the fans, the atmospheres we’ve had in the away ends really help the players. It’s huge. The most recent one was Stoke, it was an incredible atmosphere - and the Stoke fans played their part in that as well. It’s added another layer of motivation for the players, and credit to our fans for that. Those performances against those types of teams, having that in the memory bank and knowing you can go to those places and against those types of squads, with the expectations of what those squads are, and perform and compete and win in those types of environments, that’s what we need to do and keep. You look at it individually as well; it’s a different team, it’s a different set-up, we have to be ready for that.”

Garry Monk asked if his players thrived on their underdog status...
"Yes, possibly. I'm not saying it from a motivational point of view, it's because that's the truth. A lot of these players have been involved in it over the last couple of seasons, so it's fresh in their minds as well. There's no getting above ourselves. It's great that we're on an unbeaten run and that we're winning games, but we're very focused on the next game and trying our maximum for three points and if not, can we get a point out of it? That's how we try to approach it. We've had that mentality and that's how we need to try and continue."

Garry Monk on what he has made of Derby's start to the season...
"Very good. It's to be expected as well. Derby have a high-quality squad, especially offensively. But even with that you still have to do the work and get the results and the performances. Obviously with a new manager and new to management as well he's had a fantastic start which I'm sure he'll be very pleased with and the way his team is performing. It's another one where we've played these teams already especially away from home that on paper are a much better quality squad than us and much more expected to be where they are, and we've shown we can compete with these teams. It's another opportunity to try and prove ourselves against a team that has set out its agenda to be promoted this year. We're not in that calibre, but what we are trying to do is show that we can compete with those types of teams. We've done it really well so far and it's another opportunity to do it again."

Derby boss Frank Lampard's comments ahead of the game...
"We have had a good cup run. We have shown in two massive games (against Chelsea and Man United) that we can compete. The challenge is to do that week in, week out. We are doing well. People are saying nice things about us but people saying nice things isn't important, reaching a standard and improving even more is important. If we do that, we have got a chance but after the last cup game we played against Manchester United we went and lost at Bolton and didn't really turn up. How are we going to react against Birmingham on Saturday? It has been a good little patch for us but the minute we think that, and relax on it, it won't be and so we must keep working and keep moving forward."

Derby team news...
Craig Bryson (calf) and George Evans (back and hip) were missing against Chelsea earlier in the week and are unlikely to figure against Blues.

Blues team news…
Harlee Dean has recovered from the hip injury that saw him limp off in Blues' last game against Sheffield Wednesday and has trained all week. Isaac Vassell (knee) and David Davis (ankle) still sidelined. For an update on their progress, click here

Last five meetings between Derby and Blues...
Championship 13 Jan 2018 Blues 0 Derby 3
Championship 23 Sep 2017 Derby 1 Blues 1
Championship 08 Apr 2017 Blues 1 Derby 2
Championship 27 Dec 2016 Derby 1 Blues 0
Championship 16 Jan 2016 Derby 0 Blues 3

Head to head...
Derby wins: 44
Draws: 35
Blues wins: 40

Form guide. Last five Championship fixtures....
Derby: DDWWD
Blues: DWWWW

Ticket news...
Blues have sold our full allocation of 3,145 tickets for this match. Please do not travel to Pride Park unless you already have a ticket.

BluesTV…
BluesTV will be broadcasting live from St. Andrew's.
UK & EIRE customers will be able to listen to live commentary of Saturday's game.
INTERNATIONAL subscribers can watch the match exclusively live on BluesTV.

Match officials…
Select Group referee Chris Kavanagh will take charge of Saturday's fixture. So far this season, the Lancashire-based official has refereed nine games where he has produced 23 yellow cards in total, but no reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Nottingham Forest in November 2017. Blues won that game 1-0 and there were four players cautioned in total; including Harlee Dean and Maikel Kieftenbeld for Blues. The last Derby game he refereed was the Rams' 2-0 defeat to Fulham in their Championship Play-Off semi-final second leg tie in May 2018. A total of six players were cautioned in that game; including Tom Huddlestone and Kasey Palmer for Derby. Mr Kavanagh will be assisted on Saturday by Dan Cook and Sian Massey-Ellis, with Graham Salisbury acting as the fourth official.

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