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Rams v Foxes match preview

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It’s time for another East Midlands derby match, this it’s Derby v Leicester at the Walkers Stadium. The Rams will be hoping that this game goes much better than the previous local derby match against Notts Forest in August.

Derby will be going into this game in high spirits following their 3-0 victory against Sheffield Wednesday before the international break. Captain Robbie Savage will be looking forward to playing against one of his old clubs and hopefully he will be able to inspire the Rams to their first victory away from home this season.

The Rams have good news ahead of the match; Dean Leacock, Kris Common and Paul Connolly have all been declared fit after recovering from their recent injuries. Centre half Shaun Barker also has a chance of being available for the game after his thigh problem was not as bad as first thought, this will be a huge boost to Nigel Clough’s defensive options which were looking precarious earlier in the week.

Paul Dickov will not be involved against his parent club so the return of Commons is a huge boost for Derby, with other strikers Porter, Vaughan and Davies all injured support for Rob Hulse is much needed.  Young striker Greg Mills has been recalled from his loan spell at Solihull Moors and is included in the squad for the game, the 19 year old had scored four goals in four games for the Blue Square North side before Nigel Clough activated a clause in the loan deal to bring him back to Pride Park.

Given the positive injury news I would expect to the see the following starting XI

Bywater

Stoor, Barker, Leacock, Moxey

Croft, Hendrie, Savage, Livermore, Teale

Hulse

Bench – Mills, Commons, McEveley, Deeney, Buxton, Zadkovich

Nigel Pearson’s men have started well to their new life in the Championship, currently sitting in seventh with 17 points from their 11 games so far. The Foxes are particularly strong at home this season; they have only lost one of the five games at the Walkers Stadium winning three of the other four matches. The Leicester squad is peppered with ex-Derby players, Steve Howard, Matt Oakley and Chris Powell who hopefully will all get a good reception from the Rams fans before the game.

Players to watch

Matt Oakley – former Derby captain who signed for Leicester in January 2008 for £500,000. Oakley is a strong central midfielder with an eye for goal which Derby should be well aware of. There is no doubt that he will look to control the game for the Foxes from midfield and Derby’s midfield will have to battle hard to stop him doing so.

Paul Gallagher – Scottish striker, previously played for Blackburn, Preston and Plymouth with last season at Plymouth being particularly successful scoring 13 goals. Not scored for Leicester yet this season but will be a threat if he starts on Saturday.

Matt Fryatt – scored 7 goals in the league this season and has really stepped up from the League One level he had been playing at previously. A natural goalscorer with good pace and an exceptional record for the Foxes, in his 151 games he has scored 53 goals which is an excellent return. The Derby defence will need to be on form to keep the former Walsall man quiet.

Derby have the edge in the previous meetings between these two East Midlands rivals, they have won 44 of the 95 games played with Leicester only winning 25. However Leicester have a good record in recent years against the Rams. However the most recent meetings in the 2006/07 season saw the game at the Walkers end in a 1-1 draw, and Derby won the game at Pride Park. Nigel Clough would be very happy with a draw tomorrow given Derby’s dismal away form at the moment, having only taken 1 point on their travels all season.

The referee for the game will be Mike Dean from the Wirral. This season he has taken charge of 8 games, issuing 28 yellow cards and no red cards. Most of Mr Dean’s games this season have been in the Premiership and Europe; he has taken charge of one game in the Championship which was the opening day fixture between West Brom and Newcastle.

Prediction

My head is very realistic and says that given Leicester’s home form and Derby’s away form this should be an easy victory for the home side, however my heart thinks the Rams can use the momentum from the Sheffield Wednesday and take a point from the game if the team perform to their ability.

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