Tough challenge for Clarets
It was November last time we won a game, that coming against Leeds United, and since then we've picked up just four draws and four defeats in eight league games. It is the first time we've had such a run without a win since early 1999, a run that included those now infamous 5-0 and 6-0 home defeats against Gillingham and Manchester City.
On the other hand Derby are bang in form, they have won their last four league games and can add two FA Cup victories to that. It is a run that has seen them go top of the league, albeit with some help from a problematic St Andrew's pitch and a Leicester hotel with structural problems.
Like Steve Cotterill, his former neighbour Billy Davies has been busy during the transfer window and yesterday completed his fifth signing of the year with the capture of our former loan player Jay McEveley from Blackburn Rovers for a fee that could reach £1 million.
He spent another million on completing the deal for Manchester United midfielder David Jones. He'd been with the Rams on loan since November and the player who had played for Davies last season at Preston made his move permanent when the window opened.
Craig Fagan was next. According to some sources he was also a target for Burnley, and no surprise with the problems he cause our defence in the last game of 2006 as Hull went into an early 2-0 lead against us. His move cost Derby £750,000 and they spent the same again on Celtic midfielder Stephen Pearson.
The final signing, assuming there are to be no more in the last forty-eight hours, was Wigan's Gary Teale. The wide man had been in and out of the Wigan side this season and having been made available he moved to Derby for a £600,000 fee.
Their most recent result was a somewhat fortunate 1-0 win against Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup, although Davies made a number of changes for this game. Winning 1-0 is not rare for Derby and three of their last four league wins have been by this score, including the last win at Southend a week last Saturday courtesy of a goal from leading scorer Steve Howard, his eleventh league goal of the season.
to see all Derby's results this season.
There's no doubt that Davies will be making changes from the side that beat Bristol Rovers. He used that game to give other players a run out but is expected to name his strongest side tonight, and everyone is available with the exception of Jay McEveley whose transfer did not go through in time.
Derby's side is likely to be: Stephen Bywater, Marc Edworthy, Darren Moore, Dean Leacock, Mo Camara, Gary Teale, Stephen Pearson, Matt Oakley, David Jones, Craig Fagan, Steve Howard. Subs from: Morten Bisgaard, Michael Johnson, Bob Malcolm, Arturo Lupoli, Giles Barnes, Michael Jackson, Seth Johnson, Mr Karren Brady.
to see the full Derby squad.
It looks as though the Clarets will again be without both Steve Jones and Alan Mahon through injury. Steve Jones missed the last game against Stoke with a calf injury whilst Mahon was a late omission from the team at Southampton with a groin problem and it appears neither of them have recovered sufficiently to be named in the squad.
The club are reporting these as the only injuries, and as such that means John McGreal is back fit and should go straight back into the defence that looked all at sea a week ago against Stoke. The most likely change with see captain Wayne Thomas go to right back with Johnny Mac back in the centre alongside Michael Duff.
Elsewhere I don't see there being many changes, the left hand side of midfield proves to be a problem position with both Jones and Mahon out so the likelihood is that Chris McCann will continue there whilst up front it will either be Gifton Noel-Williams or Kyle Lafferty who will partner Ade Akinbiyi.
Despite the manager's view on Ade not being fit enough just yet, and despite his suggestions that he would be better off not playing, he will surely be a certain starter.
Some agency reports yesterday were suggesting that Steve Caldwell could make his debut whilst Danny (in fact Daniel) Coyne could deputise for Mike Pollitt. It's hardly likely, Caldwell is employed still be RK Sunderland for a start whilst Pollitt is a certain starter.
The team will look something like: Mike Pollitt, Wayne Thomas, Michael Duff, John McGreal, Jon Harley, Wade Elliott, Eric Djemba-Djemba, James O'Connor, Chris McCann, Ade Akinbiyi, Gifton Noel-Williams or Kyle Lafferty. Subs from: Danny Coyne, Stephen Foster, Frank Sinclair, Joey Gudjonsson, Garreth O'Connor, Kyle Lafferty or Gifton Noel-Williams.
This was a horror story, not one for the faint hearted. It came during that awful run of defeats last season and this was (maybe Coventry excepted) as bad as any of them. It all came in the week when the club's Chief Executive Dave Edmundson told us he was a diehard Claret and that was the major talking point amongst the diehard Clarets in the away end before kick off.
Not as though there were very many of us, the numbers were so low and way below what we might have expected for a Saturday afternoon game as close as Derby, but defeat after defeat and the week's comments had not left many fans with much enthusiasm.
For some reason, some very strange reason, I was quietly confident that we'd get something from this game. And we started brightly enough and could have taken an early lead through Garreth O'Connor.
But just after half past three we might as well have been heading home as some dodgy goalkeeping and some poor defending, particularly at free kicks, saw us go 3-0 down and the game was over as a contest.
From that moment on Derby knew they'd won, we knew we'd lost and it was something of a non event with the only remaining highlight being the final whistle blown by referee Phil Joslin that at least signalled we could head for home.
The teams were;
Lee Camp, Marc Edworthy, Lewin Nyatanga, Darren Moore, Alan Wright, Tommy Smith, Adam Bolder, Inigo Idiakez, Giles Barnes (Paul Thirlwell 80), Michael McIndoe (Lee Holmes 85), Kevin Lisbie (Mr Karren Brady 88). Subs not used: Kevin Poole, Richard Jackson.Burnley:
Brian Jensen, Frank Sinclair (Michael Duff 70), Wayne Thomas, John McGreal, Jon Harley, Wade Elliott, Micah Hyde (Graham Branch 57), James O'Connor (John Spicer 45), Chris McCann, Garreth O'Connor, Michael Ricketts. Subs not used: Gifton Noel-Williams, Kyle Lafferty.
Previous 20 Seasons
abandoned 76 mins due to fog
Davis Eyres Shaw
I Moore Taylor
Click HERE to see all our results against Derby going back to the first season of the Football League.