|Sunderland 1 v 1 Derby County|
Friday, 4th August 2017 Kick-off 19:45
G.M's Match Preview: No Room For Sentiment As Rams Must Beat Blues
Saturday, 8th Apr 2017 06:00 by George Martin
Derby County make the short trip from east to west as they travel to struggling Birmingham City.
Having secured seven points in three games, including an eventful and exciting 4-2 victory over Fulham in midweek, Derby still have an outside chance of securing a play off spot.
Rowett will hope to name an unchanged team with Nugent likely to recover from a dead leg. Johnson and Olsson were in doubt before the Fulham games, but overcame their niggles, so they are likely to be fit enough to start in the team again.
Russell and Ince will look to counter attack on the break from wide positions with perhaps the only tactical change perhaps coming in the form of Vydra being put on the bench for an extra central midfielder, probably Butterfield.
This happened at half time on Tuesday. However, being able to link up play and being a goal threat means Vydra could start the game. Darren Bent has a slight groin problem, but could be fit enough to make the bench.
Since Birmingham chose to sack Rowett and employ Zola, The Blues have been in free fall. They were in seventh place and sniffing round the play offs as Rowett managed to turn things found on a small budget and is well like by their players and fans.
He is likely to get a fond reception, but there is no room for sentiment as Derby need all three points. Birmingham have not won recently, but did manage a good victory away to Wolves and a solid draw with Newcastle.
Rowett will not necessarily know how the players will play, but he should know their strengths and weaknesses, which will hopefully put The Rams in good stead for the game.
Jutkiewicz will look to get a recall having been left on the bench for their defeat to Brighton. Ex Ram Shotton will look to Marshall the defence while the attacking threats will come from Tesche, Adams and Donaldson. Zola has more or less full squad to choose from with no new injury concerns.
After two good wins, if Derby have any hope of sneaking into the play offs they must win at St. Andrews. A draw will not be enough.
Derby to win 3-1 and Vydra to score.
Last Time They Met:
Derby 1 v 0 Birmingham
27th December 2016 – Pride Park Stadium
Classic Clash Video:
Birmingham 1 v 4 Derby
21st November 1995 – St Andrews
Gaffer / Player Pre-Match Interviews:
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Photo: Action Images
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