|Sunderland 1 v 1 Derby County|
Friday, 4th August 2017 Kick-off 19:45
G.M's Match Preview: Must Win Historical Fixture For Fading Rams
Tuesday, 21st Feb 2017 05:22 by George Martin
Derby play Burton at home for the first time ever in a competitive fixture and Derby are desperate for a win after two shock results in their previous two home fixtures.
Steve McClaren must decide whether they were freak results or one or two members of the back four need changing. If fit, Max Lowe could come in at left back for Olsson and the more attacking option of Christie could be utilised in place of Baird.
After conceding so many goals in the previous four games, the debate about whether Shackell should come in for Keogh or Pearce will continue. There is a valid argument for change, but the same back four secured a record number of clean sheets only weeks ago.
De Sart and Johnson will battle over the CDM role and while De Sart has a better range of passing and technical ability, Johnson is more physical.
Hughes will start but Bryson is again doubtful carrying a knock. Unfortunately, Bryson has been injured on and off for around 18 months now and struggles to put a run of games together. Butterfield may also start as ball retention and quick passing will be important.
Anya and Ince are likely to start on either wing as Camara has no consistency and Russell is struggling with an injury and has no end product. Bent is likely to continue up front with fit again Nugent looking to make an impact in the second half. Blackman is also injured so Vydra will be looking to make the 18.
Burton arrive at Pride Park with Nigel Clough and his coaching staff returning for the first time. Clough is likely to get a good reception as he did very well to reduce an obscene wage bill, bring in some decent players for relatively no money and stabilise the club.
However, bigger signings like Sammon did not work out, he sometimes came across as a little stubborn when losing and seemingly had favourite players. He took the Rams as far as he could, never making any real consistent threat to the top 10, never mind the play offs.
For Burton to win promotion to The Championship is truly amazing. Jimmy Floyd Hassellbaink did a superb job to put Burton in a fantastic position last season and Clough guided them (just) over the line.
The Brewers have made a real fight for championship survival this campaign and are well organised, compact and try and play decent football. However, they struggle to score but have been shrewd in the transfer market signing both Kightly and Varney.
They had an excellent result at home to an inform Norwich side on Saturday and will be looking to cause another shock against Derby. McFadzean and Ex Ram Brayford are out injured and Akins is a doubt with a hamstring strain. Irvine will attack from midfield and Woodrow will look to finish chances clinically up front.
This is both a historical and important fixture for both clubs, in regards to what each are trying to achieve this season. Derby have to win and get their season back on track, nothing but a win will do.
The Brewers will be hoping to get at least a point to take them away from the relegation zone. Burton will make life difficult and look to frustrate the Rams, as well as playing good football going forward.
This could be a defining game for several Derby players. We've been told the squad is good enough for promotion but there must still be some question regarding their attitude and mental strength when it comes to the crunch.
Derby to get back to winning ways and win 2-1, with Ince to score.
Last Time They Met:
Burton 1 v 0 Derby
26th August 2016 - Pirelli Stadium
Burton 1 v 3 Derby
Pre-Season Friendly – 1st August 2015
Gaffer / Player Pre Match Interview:
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Photo: Action Images
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