Derby vs Portsmouth Preview
Steve Cotterill is likely to stick with the same side that beat Nottingham Forest last week despite the return to fitness of Hermann Hreidarsson and Ricardo Rocha.
Nigel Clough will have to make do without striker Luke Moore whilst fellow forward Alberto Bueno is also likely to miss out.
Pompey are going to face a stern test at Pride Park tomorrow. Despite a poor start to the season, The Rams have now only lost one of their last eight games and are currently the division's top scorers at home having scored 18 goals in 7 games.
However, this is also a tough match for the hosts due to Pompey's great run of form and so on paper at least, this looks like it's going to be a good game with plenty of goals.
With both teams on the same number of points, the winners are likely to end the day in a play-off position due to the tight nature of the Championship. Such an incentive is likely to see both managers go for the win rather than play it cautiously.
Kris Commons is the most obvious threat to Jamie Ashdown's goal, having scored seven goals from midfield already this season but Tomasz Cwyka (pronounced "quicker") scored twice against Watford and will be one to watch too.
I'll be honest and say that I'll take a draw from this game if it were offered to me now. That's not to say I don't think we can win as we have the players in midfield to stop Derby's key men getting into the game and plenty of ability going forward too. Again, it's just the defence that worries me.
Hopefully we can again show the watching nation that, on the pitch at least, Pompey have recovered after a disastrous year. I am not expecting another 6-1 win, however!
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
GK: Frank FIELDING
RB: John BRAYFORD
CB: Dean LEACOCK
CB: Jake BUXTON
LB: Dean MOXEY
RM: James BAILEY
CM: Paul GREEN
CM: Robbie SAVAGE
LM: Kris COMMONS
CF: Shefki KUQI
CF: Tomasz CWYKA
GK: Jamie ASHDOWN
RB: Greg HALFORD
CB: Aaron MOKOENA
CB: Ibrahima SONKO
LB: Carl DICKINSON
RM: Liam LAWRENCE
CM: Michael BROWN
CM: Hayden MULLINS
LM: John UTAKA
CF: David NUGENT
CF: Dave KITSON
Last Time: Derby County 2 Portsmouth 2 (Premier League - 11/08/2007)
The opening day of Pompey's most successful season in recent history saw the Blues concede to the newly promoted Rams within five minutes as Matt Oakley slotted past David James.
Benjani fired the ball through Stephen Bywater's legs to equalise and Pompey turned it around as John Utaka pounced on a loose ball to give the visitors the lead. The lead didn't last long as Andy Todd secured a point for Billy Davies' side with a header.
Pompey would go on to finish 8th in the top flight and win the FA Cup. Derby, on the other hand, would finish the season with 11 points, a record low tally in the Premier League.
Derby are excellent at home and will surely score given our problems at the back. Saying that, we've got enough character and quality in our side to cause them some problems too. I predict an entertaining score draw.
Derby County 2 Portsmouth 2