Blues Host Derby Looking for Home Improvement
Tuesday, 12th Feb 2019 20:39
Town host Derby County on Wednesday looking for only their third home win of the season and hoping to bounce back after Sunday’s East Anglian derby disappointment.
The Blues, who have lost their last four matches, are 10 points plus goal difference from safety at the bottom of the table following Tuesday's games as they go into back-to-back home games against the Rams and Stoke City.
Boss Paul Lambert says Town have to reproduce the fight and energy levels from the 3-0 defeat at Carrow Road against the Rams, who are seventh, out of the play-offs by a point, on Wednesday and against the 17th-placed Potters at Portman Road on Saturday.
“We have to,” he said. “We’ve had a chat with the lads and I think everybody knows we have to try and repeat that. It’s a difficult game we have on Wednesday, a difficult game we have on Saturday but if we play like that [we’ve a chance].
“And, to be fair, I’ve been really happy with the way we’ve played in a lot of the games, we’ve just not had the breaks at certain times. We’ve just not had the luck at certain times.
“We’ve dominated games without getting a reward but there a load of good things that I’ve seen. Results I can never influence but what I can influence is the way we play and the desire and we’ll try and do that for the remaining 15 games.”
He believes things will eventually turn if Town keep plugging away: “You can never give up, you can never ever give up as a footballer, that’s for sure, you have to have that passion and that drive for it.
“The football has been great, but the top and back end has cost us a little bit. But that’s the game of football.
“If the football club was sitting in mid-table to top, I’m pretty sure more chances would be going in, it’s just because the lads are anxious and trying to turn it around but the effort and the commitment, that’s one thing I don’t think anybody can label us as not having.”
Lambert will be facing Frank Lampard, in his first season as a manager with the Rams having been interviewed by Town during their summer recruitment process.
“He’s done well but Derby have been in and out the play-off for God knows how many years,” Lambert added.
“They’ve got a really good squad of players. Frank’s done really well, I’m pretty sure he’d found things that have worked for him and things that have gone against him.
“They’re just outside the play-offs at the moment, so they’re not to far away from it but your first job, or any job, is always tough, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, it’s always really, really tough.”
The Town manager was a fan of Lampard the player: “I think he was a really, really good player. There are million great players out there. Frank Lampard was a great goalscoring midfielder and that’s worth its weight in gold on its own.
“I’m fortunate, I saw some great players, played against some great players. I love watching football and Frank was a really good player in his time.”
Is he pleased to the likes of Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes go into management rather than taking the easier route of TV punditry? “You tend to find out when you go into it there’s a little bit more to it, which I’m pretty sure everybody will vouch for.
“I’ve great respect for anybody that goes into management because it’s one helluva hard job.
“You’ve just got to remember how hard it is when you’re not doing it. I think Frank will probably find that himself.
“To be fair to him, I always thought he was very good on the television, never [too] critical or bad-mouthing anybody, he was always fair I thought from a football point of view.
“I’m pretty sure he’d finding it different how football [management] works and the media works.”
One of a number of familiar faces in the Derby squad will be striker Martyn Waghorn, who swapped Portman Road for Pride Park last summer.
“The club lost something like 45 goals in the summer, that’s unbelievable why that happened, whether the lads wanted to leave for one reason or another I don’t know,” Lambert reflected.
“But if you lose 45 goals out of your team, that doesn’t stack up one way or another.
“And the lad has done really well. I don’t know the lad at all but he’s always been a proven goalscorer.”
Lambert will stick with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal and, if skipper Luke Chambers is fit, and probably the same back four with centre-half James Collins not yet ready to return from his hamstring injury.
That would see Matthew Pennington alongside Chambers - or alternatively Toto Nsiala - with James Bree at right-back and Jonas Knudsen at left-back.
In midfield, Cole Skuse will continue but Lambert could opt to start Teddy Bishop instead of Jon Nolan. Trevoh Chalobah is likely to continue in the third midfield role.
Lambert will probably stick with the system he fielded at Norwich with Alan Judge behind the frontmen, who will be Will Keane and, in Freddie Sears’s absence, Ellis Harrison, who was lively against the Canaries, or Collin Quaner, back after missing the game at Carrow Road with a hamstring problem.
Derby boss Lampard, whose side has lost just one of their last eight in the Championship and beat Hull City 2-0 at the weekend, is warning his side against complacency against the Blues.
“Ipswich is coming up next and it will be a very tough game on a Wednesday night against a side that are fighting for their lives and fighting for every point,” he told the Rams official site. “It’s important that we try and keep this momentum that we have.
“I watched their game against Norwich on Sunday and there were parts of the game when they were really in it.
“At 1-0 down, they were in it for big periods and they created some decent chances and the game went against them.
“In terms of where they are in the table, it means nothing to me in terms of thinking it might be an easy game for us because when the team is fighting, and they have less and less to lose, they will give it everything.
“We have seen so many cup games this season where teams in leagues below have beaten teams in the Premier League so nothing can be taken for granted in football. Ipswich are at home and have players that can hurt us so we have to be at our best.
“We certainly can’t be complacent in any way and that’s not just before we go out, that’s from the minute Hull City finished and this game starts.
“We have to get the right idea and right way of approaching this game and it’s about making sure that we are completely on our guard. We will watch Ipswich, we will give them full respect and we will go there knowing we want the three points.”
Lampard expects to have ex-Blues striker Jack Marriott (ankle and illness) and former Town loanee Tom Lawrence (calf) available again.
However, on-loan Chelsea man Mason Mount remains sidelined with a hamstring problem and keeper Scott Carson has a thigh injury and is expected to be out for another couple of weeks.
January additions Andy King, who signed on loan from Leicester, and ex-England international Ashley Cole, who joined after leaving the LA Galaxy, made their debuts from the bench against Hull at the weekend and could be in line for their first starts for the Rams.
Historically, Town have had the better of Derby, winning 36 games (34 in the league), drawing 21 (19) and losing 29 (28).
Infamously, Derby striker David Nugent has a remarkable record of scoring 15 in 17 games against the Blues for his various clubs.
In August, second-half goals from sub Joe Ledley and ex-Blues loanee Tom Lawrence saw Derby County to a 2-0 home victory over Town, their first win against the Blues at Pride Park since November 2006.
Ledley put the Rams in front on 59 and Lawrence sealed the three points with a freekick in the 68th minute with Town never looking likely to get back into the game.
The teams last met at Portman Road in December 2017 when Joe Garner headed his seventh goal of the season after Sam Winnall had scored twice for Derby as the Blues ended the year with a 2-1 home defeat.
Winnall nodded the visitors in front in the 13th minute as they dominated the first half, then added the second three minutes after the break. Town were better in the second half but were only able to respond with Garner’s goal on 65.
Waghorn joined the Rams from the Blues in August for an initial £5 million with the fee potentially rising to £7.5 million.
The striker signed for Town the previous summer from Rangers for £250,000 and scored 16 goals in 39 starts and seven sub appearances in a hugely successful 2017/18 with Town.
Lawrence moved to Pride Park in the summer of 2017 from Leicester for an initial £5 million with the fee potentially rising to £7 million.
The Wales international enjoyed a very impressive loan spell with the Blues during 2016/17, scoring 11 goals in 34 starts and two sub appearances.
Striker Marriott came through the ranks at the Town academy having joined the Blues from Kettering as a schoolboy. He made one Carabao Cup start and two Championship appearances for Town before being released in the summer of 2015.
Rams centre-half and skipper Richard Keogh was an academy schoolboy and Portman Road ballboy during his formative years, while striker Chris Martin, a former Norwich City player who is currently on loan at Hull City, is from Suffolk having been born in Beccles.
New Blues winger Simon Dawkins was with Derby between October 2013 and January 2016, initially on loan from Spurs before the Rams paid £500,000 for his services.
The January free signing made a total of 44 starts and 30 sub appearances for Derby, scoring nine times.
Wednesday’s referee is Andy Madley from West Yorkshire, who has shown 63 yellow cards and one red in 26 games so far this season.
Madley’s most recent Town match was the 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough in October when he kept his cards in his pocket throughout.
He also took charge of the 3-0 home victory over Preston in November 2017 in which he booked David McGoldrick and three Lilywhites.
Two months prior to that he refereed the 2-0 home victory over Bolton in which he cautioned Joe Garner and three visiting players.
He also took control of the 1-1 home draw with Birmingham in April of the same year in which he yellow-carded only one of the Midlanders.
He refereed the 3-0 home defeat to Derby three months earlier in which he again kept his cards in his pocket throughout.
Madley also officiated in the 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in November 2016 when he booked Skuse and Grant Ward and one home player.
Before that he was the man in the middle for the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff in March of that year in which he again issued no cards.
He refereed the 2-1 home victory over Wolves in November 2014 in which he showed yellow cards to Chambers, Luke Hyam and Kevin Bru as well as two visiting players.
In 2013/14 he took control of the 1-1 home draw with Nottingham Forest and the 2-0 victory over Reading at Portman Road.
The season prior to that he refereed his first Blues game, the 2-1 home defeat to Derby, which turned out to be Paul Jewell’s last match as manager of Town.
Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Bree, Pennington, Knudsen, Spence, Kenlock, Elder, Chambers (c), Collins, Nsiala, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Dozzell, Nolan, Bishop, Edwards, Dawkins, Judge, Keane, Quaner, Harrison, Jackson.
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