Preview: Derby County vs Swansea City
3rd March 2009
Swansea City will be looking to get their play-off race back on track on Tuesday night after dropping 2 points at home on Saturday against bottom club Charlton Athletic.
We were left to rue a number of missed chances as poor finishing meant we were unable to convert our dominance into another 3 valuable points that would have seen us go up to 5th in the table.
After an indifferent start to their campaign, Derby County are now looking to bounce back and avoid a relegation scrap following the arrival of new boss Nigel Clough.
He took over at Pride Park in January and his record so far is 11 games, 5 wins, 5 defeats and 1 draw.
Following relegation from the Premiership last season, County were looking to bounce back with an instant return to the top flight, but instead they began battling at the wrong end of the table.
Clough has installed some much needed stability at the club, they look like they'll comfortably avoid a relegation battle, but there's too much ground to make up in little time to reach the play-offs.
Derby will be looking to bounce back from the weekend after throwing a 1-goal lead away against Doncaster, who picked up a 2-1 win. Former Welsh international Robbie Savage opened the scoring for Clough's side from a curling free-kick, and I'm sure the travelling Swans fans will give him some stick, just like they did when he played for Blackburn Rovers in a pre-season friendly at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea City 1-1 Derby County
Ashley Williams scored a 76th minute equaliser, 13 minutes after Pearson's opener to share the spoils at the Liberty Stadium back in September.
Derby County Team News:
Roberto Martinez has mixed news on the injury front for the game. Skipper Garry Monk suffered a re-occurrence of his back injury and was forced to come off after just 27 minutes during Saturday's game. He's targeting a return in a week's time when we host Plymouth Argyle at the Liberty Stadium.
Albert Serran will therefore be back in the starting line-up. There's good news for the Swans boss as midfield duo Joe Allen and Darren Pratley are both available again and recently recovering from their injuries. Pratley is an amazing 6 weeks ahead of schedule, coming for the last 5 minutes against Charlton. Joe Allen is also a few weeks early and they are both likely to be on the bench at Pride Park.
We were also hopeful that striker Gorka Pintado would be available again as an impact player on the bench but he may miss out after he continues his recovery following a hernia operation.
Player to watch: Leon Britton
Swansea City's most consistent performer at the moment and was one of very few players who deserved credit from Saturday's game. A battler in midfield, can pass and tackles well, he's been superb for this season.
Swansea City Team News:
Derby have been rocked with the news that winger Kris Commons is out with a calf injury. Paul Green should be available despite picking up a knock while Miles Addison (foot) and Dean Leacock (groin) are out injured.
Player to watch: Rob Hulse
Derby paid Sheffield United an incredible £1.75m on Rob Hulse and in return he has scored 11 League goals, plus 3 in the FA Cup. Hulse has accumulated £5.8m in transfer fees in his career, with Sheffield United and Leeds also paying 7-figure fees for his services. He made an impressive start to his career, beginning as a trainee with Crewe scoring 45 goals in 97 League starts.
Match Facts & Stats
Derby have won 2 out of their last 3 home games in the League, including a 4-1 thrashing against Blackpool. 3 days later they beat Forest 3-1 away so they certainly know where the goal is.
Head to Head: 14 Derby wins, 17 Swansea wins, 4 draws.
Swansea City have struggled lately against teams near the bottom, losing 2-0 at Watford and drawing 1-1 at Charlton. Derby have had a few impressive wins recently as mentioned above and we're in for another tough test. Vital Swansea's Prediction: Derby 1 Swansea 1
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