Cardiff City will be looking to bounce back from defeat to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, when Derby County visit Cardiff City Stadium.
The Rams will be looking to do the same after losing to Crystal Palace 1-0 on Friday evening. Derby currently find themselves in thirteenth position in the Championship table with forty-four points, aware surely, that their hopes of gaining a Play-Off place will start to fade if they don't find form. They are now eleven points off that elusive sixth place, while also having played one game more than sixth placed Palace.
In fact County find themselves marginally closer to the relegation zone at this time than the promotion places. They are now eight points above the drop-spots with eleven games to play.
Nigel Clough’s team have struggled away from home this season, losing ten of their seventeen games on the road. They have also only picked up one win in their last eight fixtures, although they have only lost three of them games thanks to four draws. Encouraginly for Rams fans, Derby have only lost one game after being in a winning position all season. The first goal could prove crucial on Tuesday night.
Key Players:Theo Robinson was top scorer for Derby when the two sides met back in November. That honour now lies with Jamie Ward who has eleven league goals to his name - though injury picked up against Palace on Friday is likely to keep him out of this evening's fixture. Conor Sammon will be looking to make amends, if he features, after missing an eighty-eighth minute penalty on Friday night at Pride Park.
Midfielder Paul Coutts could prove influential when the Rams visit the capital. He is Derby’s leader in assists with eight and could be a vital link to the front men. Jeff Hendrick is their leading scorer in midfield with six goals and could be a danger going forward.
And if Cardiff are to get back to winning ways on Tuesday night they will have to break the defences of John Brayford and Richard Keogh. The ever-present defenders have featured in every single league game this year.
Previous Meetings: Cardiff City have much the superior record when it comes to head-to-heads with Derby. There have been fifty-four encounters and City have won twenty-six of them, while there have been fourteen draws and fourteen wins for Derby.
In recent years Cardiff have been the stronger team only losing two in the last ten. That sequence of games includes both a 6-1 and 4-1 win for City.
Last Meeting: Derby County 1–1 Cardiff City (27/10/2012)
Cardiff City earned a hard fought point at Pride Park after the sixty-third minute sending off of Craig Noone. City had taken the lead through an early Heidar Helguson goal after he nodded home from close range.
Noone’s sending off for a second bookable offence was a turning point. Just six minutes later, Theo Robinson equalised for the Midlands side. However, Cardiff managed to stay strong under intense Derby County pressure to remain top of the Championship table.
Derby County Line-up: Legzdins, Brayford, Roberts (O’Connor), Buxton, Keogh, Bryson, Coutts, Jacobs (Tyson), Hughes, Robinson (Hendrick), Sammon. Subs not used: Fielding, O’Brien, Davies, Freeman.
Cardiff City Line-up: Marshall, Hudson, Connolly, Ralls, Nugent, Whittingham, Kim, Noone, Gunnarsson (Conway), Helguson (Mason), Bellamy (Mutch). Subs not used: Parish, Kiss, John, Gestede.