Aitor Karanka’s side will be looking to sign off the year in style.BCFC
And Aitor Karanka’s side will be looking to sign off the year in style by building on the valuable point picked up at Derby’s East Midlands rivals on Boxing Day. The City Ground stalemate against Nottingham Forest ended a sticky patch for Blues and came with the added bonus of a clean sheet.
Meanwhile, Derby saw a six-game unbeaten run ended by Alan Browne’s stoppage-time winner as Preston North End left Pride Park with all three points. That result leaves the Rams inside the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of the televised clash with Blues.
Completion of the fixture will also see Blues move within one game of the campaign’s halfway mark, which, up to and including Boxing Day, has seen them play 21 Sky Bet Championship matches in just 107 days.
Interim manager Wayne Rooney will be the fourth different boss to bring Derby to St. Andrew’s in as many seasons after the club parted company with Philip Cocu in November. The Dutchman had guided the Rams to tenth last season but with the club sat bottom of the table the Pride Park hierarchy decided to make a change.
35-year-old Rooney is ably supported by Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker, with the current management team bringing an upturn in fortunes. In fact, since England’s all-time top goalscorer was given greater control of managerial duties Derby have only lost once. This impressive run has seen them move from being six points adrift of safety to on the cusp of being out of the bottom three.
Such a spell has also included four consecutive clean sheets, three of which came against teams currently in the top seven. However, they will be without the defensive experience of former Blues man Curtis Davies who is currently sidelined by an Achilles injury.
Having shored up at the back, Derby are still struggling in front of goal. And, to make matters worse, the Championship’s lowest scorers (10) are without their joint top scorer Martyn Waghorn (2). His Boxing Day red card means their leading marksmen from last season will be unable to add to his tally of three goals in eight games against Blues.
LAST TIME OUT:
Blues picked up a first point in four as they battled hard away to Nottingham Forest. Keen not to fall foul of mistakes that have cost them in recent weeks, Karanka’s side showed defensively resoluteness to hold out an impressive array of attacking options available to the hosts. And Blues could have won it when Ivan Sanchez took aim, only for Brice Samba to beat away the Spaniard’s goal-bound effort.
Just along Brian Clough Way, it turned out to be the nightmare after Christmas for Derby who were cruelly left empty-handed after playing well over an hour with ten men against Preston. Performing bravely following Waghorn’s dismissal, it had appeared Rooney’s men would earn a draw for their efforts. That was until Browne popped up in the 96th minute to curl home the winner.
WE MEET AGAIN:
Blues 1 Derby County 3, 22 July 2020
Blues host Derby for the second time in five months after the two sides met on the final day of the protracted 2019/20 season. On that occasion, it was the visitors who claimed victory despite it seeming Blues would take at least a point under the temporary guidance of Steve Spooner and Gary Gardner.
Having fallen behind to Graeme Shinnie’s sixth-minute goal, the home side almost equalised when Jude Bellingham’s header hit the crossbar before Ivan Sunjic did level matters after the break.
This set up a grandstand finish on Bellingham’s final appearance before his move to Borussia Dortmund. However, with the teenager taken off through injury, Derby pounced and took the points through goals from Morgan Whittaker and Louie Sibley either side of the 90-minute mark.
BLUES TEAM NEWS:
Zach Jeacock (ankle), Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh), Josh McEachran (groin) and Alen Halilović are all out through injury.
Blues wins: 40
Derby wins: 48
LAST FIVE MEETINGS:
Championship 22 Jul 2020 – Blues 1 Derby 3
Championship 28 Sep 2019 – Derby 3 Blues 2
Championship 19 Apr 2019 – Blues 2 Derby 2
Championship 03 Nov 2018 – Derby 3 Blues 1
Championship 13 Jan 2018– Blues 0 Derby 3
Supporters in the UK can watch this game live on Sky Sports Football with coverage starting at 5pm.
Only viewers in selected countries will be able to watch our game against Derby on BluesTV. There is no pay-per-view for this fixture. Further details are available here.
Referee – Andy Davies
Assistant Referees - Steven Meredith and Mark Dwyer
Fourth Official - Benjamin Speedie