Almost three and a half years since being sacked by Derby, Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough returns to Pride Park for the first time.
In the 40 months since Clough left Derby, the Rams have had a number of different managers and are currently, for the second time led by Steve McClaren who replaced Clough in 2013. Clough’s Burton are the form side, sitting four points clear of the bottom three after beating Norwich on Saturday. Derby have earned only one point from their last three games, with their two most recent performances, both against bottom half sides, frustrating fans as the Rams have conceded seven times.
The home side may be without Craig Bryson (hip), Nick Blackman (knee) and Johnny Russell (hamstring) who haven’t trained this week.
Defenders Jason Shackell, Max Lowe and Cyrus Christie may return to the starting lineup along with Abdoul Camara who missed the game against Cardiff as his wife gave birth to their second child.
Burton could be out with ex Derby defender John Brayford (knee) and former Alfreton centre back Kyle McFadzean (toe) who are likely to remain out through injury. Striker Lucas Akins is also considered doubtful with a hamstring strain suffered in pre-match warm-up for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Norwich.
Former Derby players Stephen Bywater, Shaun Barker, Luke Varney, Tom Naylor and Matty Palmer are all available and will be hoping to feature.
Striker Cauley Woodrow will be key for the Brewers having scored four goals in his last four Championship starts, as well as providing two assists. Fellow loanee Michael Kightly will also be vital, he’s scored in all three of his appearances since joining from Burnley last month.
The Rams have had huge defensive problems recently, conceding nine times in their last three home league games. They had conceded ten in the previous 22 at home before this run. They’ve also been scoring more recently, netting three times in four of their last five league games – 75% of these goals have been scored by Darren Bent and Tom Ince who have, between them, scored over half of the Rams’ goals this season.
Burton won the first ever competitive clash between the sides in August but this will be the first time the fixture has been played at Pride Park. Though Derby have much more ability than Burton, it is likely that they will find it tough against the Brewers, who are known for their brilliant team spirit and willingness to give their all. The Rams will have to be at their best to win and must get the three points to retain the slight possibility of reaching the play offs.