G.M's Match Preview: Last Roll Of The Dice For Fast Fading Rams
Tuesday, 28th Feb 2017 06:56 by George Martin
Derby faces their second away game in three days tonight when they travel to Blackburn Rovers.
After yet another defeat, this time to out of form Villa on Saturday, Rams fans will be hoping the season does not just dwindle away to nothing.
Derby once again huffed and puffed against Villa but the crossing, final ball and numbers into the box were not good enough. Derby should have definitely had a penalty when Bent was tripped but other than that, no other real genuine chances were created.
Fans are wondering if it time to alter the formation and / or the starting eleven. Could Vydra come in to play behind Bent if he recovers from a knock against Villa, or perhaps Nugent who could be handed his first start for Derby.
Bradley Johnson is also back in the squad and could replace De Sart in the CDM role. Another option is to drop Butterfield and push De Sart further forward. He has the technical ability, height and passing range. McClaren may also opt for the running and energy of Bryson. There are lots of options in midfield. For me, Johnson, Bryson and Hughes should be the central three.
After over 100 consecutive starts, Keogh is a huge doubt with an injured calf. Shackell would normally deputise but he is struggling with a back problem, so Baird will start at centre back if they are both out. Christie also pulled up sore, adding to the injury concerns in Derby’s defence if he doesn’t come up in time for the match.
Lowe will hopefully be able to continue at left back and in front of him Anya may come in for the yet again ineffective Russell.
Lowly Blackburn recently sacked Owen Coyle and slightly surprisingly employed Tony Mowbray almost immediately. Mowbray does have experience and knows the division, so should be able to slot straight in. They recently drew away to Burton to keep their hopes of staying in the division alive.
Elliott Bennett returns from a ban, but loanee Akpan serves the third of a four-match suspension, while Corry Evans and Gordon Greer both remain sidelined as they are injured.
Blackburn seem to struggle to score goals. However, they do have the potential to create opportunities between Emnes, Joa, Gallagher and ex Ram Danny Graham.
Derby have only lost to Blackburn once in the previous seven meetings. This is a final roll of the dice for Derby if they are to reignite any remaining chance they may have of promotion back on track, but both teams are lacking any kind of form, goals or confidence.
It is difficult to pinpoint what has gone wrong at Derby in recent weeks. Freakishly bad defending, some poor misses, not enough player in the box, very poor crossing, bad defending from set pieces (since Leeds) and penalty decisions not going their way.
The ability, character and attitude when up against has always be a question mark hanging over certain players in the current squad. The next few games will give McClaren a lot to ponder for next season.
Derby to win 1-0 with Ince to score.
Last Time They Met:
Derby 1 v 2 Blackburn
Pride Park Stadium - 24th September 2016
Classic Clash Video:
Blackburn 1 v 2 Derby
Ewood Park - 9th September 1996
Gaffer / Player Pre Match Interview:
Photo: Action Images
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