|Sunderland 1 v 1 Derby County|
Friday, 4th August 2017 Kick-off 19:45
G.M's Match Preview: Rams Playing For Pride While Wednesday Want Promotion
Saturday, 22nd Apr 2017 06:30 by George Martin
Having scored a late equaliser against Huddersfield, enabling Brighton to win promotion, Derby faces Sheffield Wednesday away, with the outcome very likely to have ramifications on the race to the Premier League.
After Huddersfield scored an early offside goal, Derby dominated the play, territory and possession without really impacting on the Terriers goal. Their patience was eventually rewarded via a deflected equaliser from Butterfield.
Rowett must decide whether to keep Vydra in the number 10 role or opt for an extra midfielder. With nothing to lose, The Rams are better off taking the game to The Owls and going on the front foot.
Hughes and Johnson will start in the middle with the energetic and tricky Anya starting on the left. Nugent is hopeful of a return up front after missing the last game via a groin injury.
Midfielder Kieran Lee may return to the Owls squad after months out with a hip injury while Forestieri is a slight doubt after a knock to his knee. Fletcher and Hooper will be hoping to be involved after recent injuries and record signing Rhodes may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Bannan and Wallace will provide Sheffield Wednesday with energy and trickery in midfield. Loovens and Lees will look to Marshall the defence and Westwood is an excellent keeper, however the Wednesday defence can be prone to the odd error.
In the past 20 years Derby have had a good record against the Owls, both home and away. They have not lost in the past 15 encounters and only lost once at Hillsborough in the past 13 matches.
However, the losing play off finalists from last year are currently on a good run and are looking for their 5th consecutive league victory for the first time in ten years.
Generally, the Derby squad does not play well enough of pick up points against good opposition, especially away from home and with nothing really to play for, this does not bode well for the Rams.
The Owls are fighting for promotion and Derby are still pondering what went wrong and at which point. The team often seem to lack the necessary mental strength, desire and all round quality even when they have something to play for.
Derby could potentially get overrun in this game and may struggle if they concede within the first half hour. The midfield battle will be key.
Derby to lose 3-1 with Nugent to score and The Owls to end up in the play offs.
Last Time They Met:
Derby 2 v 0 Wednesday
Pride Park - 29th October 2016
Classic Clash Video:
Wednesday 2 v 5 Derby
Hillsborough Stadium - 24th September 1997
Gaffer / Player Pre-Match Interviews:
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Photo: Action Images
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