Derby County vs Hull City
Friday 8th September 2017 (KO 7:45pm)
Sky Bet Championship
Leonid Slutsky could hand debuts to recent signings Jackson, Irvine, Nouha Dicko and Fikayo Tomori, while Stephen Kingsley and Jon Toral are pushing for first starts.
Markus Henriksen is available again after recovering from a foot injury, whilst David Marshall back to full fitness to provide completion for Allan McGregor between the posts.
Late decisions will be made on the fitness of Fraizer Campbell (groin), Evandro (hamstring) and Ond?ej Mazuch (knee). However, Abel Hernández, Kevin Stewart, Ryan Mason, Will Keane and Moses Odubajo remain absent with longer-term injury problems.
Rams boss Gary Rowett has confirmed that Tom Lawrence will make his first League start for Derby County this evening. The 23-year-old wideman, signed from Leicester City, has made two substitute appearances in the Sky Bet Championship so far, whilst he has made one start in the Carabao Cup.
Sam Winnall is in line to make his Rams debut after signing on a season-long loan deal from Sheffield Wednesday. Darren Bent, Jamie Hanson and Max Lowe remain ruled out through injury, whilst George Thorne continues to push closer for a return to action.
Leonid Slutsky says it is important that the Tigers continue to move forward and progress as a team as they prepare to return to action against Derby County tonight.
Slutsky oversaw an impressive 4-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers ahead of the international break, and he wants his side to carry on from where they left off when they visit Pride Park.
“Each win is very important, not just because of the three points for the table but because of the positive emotions it brings,” said Slutsky.
“That is for us as a team and for our supporters. That win against Bolton was good, but it was only our second win this season and now we must move forward again and take another step. We have been preparing well for the game against Derby County and working very hard.
“We want to bring the mood from the Bolton game forward into this match. Derby are a good team. They play with an interesting formation and have some very experienced players.
“Of course they also have two of our former players with Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone and it will be a very difficult match. It is something that we can say about every team in this league, but we can also say that every team has strengths and weaknesses and we of course must look to make the most of their weaknesses.”
David Meyler, meanwhile, says the Tigers must look to build some momentum as they start a busy few weeks. The game against the Rams marks the first of six league games to be played before the end of September, and Meyler will be looking for his side to register points as they aim to get into the thick of things at the top end of the table.
“As a team we had a good win just before the international break and we need to build on that now,” said Meyler.
“You now look at this next run of fixtures and I believe we can win them all. We need to pick up some momentum and win games.
“Our aim since the beginning of pre-season has been to win promotion back to the Premier League and to do that, games like tonight are ones we need to be winning so we will be going there trying to get the three points.”
Curtis Davies admits Derby County’s players are eager to return to match action following the two-week international break.
The Rams went into the first international window of the season off the back of a 3-1 loss at Sheffield United at the end of August.
Defender Davies insists that the squad are determined to bounce back from that defeat, which followed a run of three successive wins in all competitions.
“It wasn’t the ideal way to go into the international break, of course,” Davies told the Rams’ Matchday Programme.
“When we lost against Wolves back in August we had the Preston game a few days later to show an immediate response.
“From that, we took the confidence on and went on to win at Bolton and Grimsby – so it was disappointing to go into the break off the back of a loss and we’ve had two weeks to wait for our next match.
“It wasn’t the defeat that hurt so much at Sheffield United, it was the performance and the fact we didn’t make a fist of it.
“We need to look forward and at the upcoming games as they continue to come thick and fast.
“We worked hard during the international break on what the manager wanted us to do and now we have to make sure we come out firing against Hull and get back on track so to speak.”
Hull City’s Last Five Results
W4-0 vs Bolton Wanderers (h)
L0-2 vs Doncaster Rovers (a)
L1-2 vs QPR (a)
L2-3 vs Wolves (h)
W4-1 vs Burton Albion (h)
Derby County’s Last Five Results
L1-3 vs Sheffield Utd (a)
W1-0 vs Grimsby Town (a)
W2-1 vs Bolton Wanderers (a)
W1-0 vs Preston North End (h)
L0-2 vs Wolves (h)
The Tigers are aiming to end a winless run of 20 games away from home since beating Swansea City 2-0 in the Premier League in August 2016.
Derby have lost four of their last five home matches against Hull City in all competitions (W1 | L4) – their last meeting at Pride Park was a 3-0 defeat in the 2015/16 play-offs.
Kamil Grosicki has provided more assists from open play than any other player in the Championship so far this season (3).
The Rams have lost just two of their last 20 home games in the Championship (W12 | D6 | L2), keeping 11 clean sheets in this run.
Darren Bond will be the man in the middle for our Sky Bet Championship clash at Derby County this evening.
He has taken charge of seven games – four of which have been in the Championship – so far this season, producing 22 yellows and one red.
In total, Bond has taken charge of just two games involving the Tigers in his career as an official, both of which have ended in wins for the team in black and amber – a 3-1 FA Cup win at Bury in January 2016 and a 2-0 home win over Brentford in April 2016.
Bond will be assisted by Andrew Fox and Nick Greenhalgh on the lines, whilst Stephen Martin has been appointed as the fourth official.
This will be the 61st competitive meeting between these two sides. The Tigers have won 23 of those games, drawing 16 and losing the other 21. In away fixtures against the Rams, the Tigers have won ten of 31 in all competitions, with six draws and 15 defeats.
LAST TIME OUT
The Tigers set up a Championship play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday despite losing at home to Derby County in a thrilling semi-final second leg in May 2016.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, Derby took an early lead when Johnny Russell poked in after being afforded too much space inside the box, before Andrew Robertson’s own goal doubled the visitors’ advantage.
Steve Bruce’s side struggled to create anything clear cut throughout the match, but looked more solid in the second half, although Chris Martin almost levelled the tie after the break, forcing a smart save from Eldin Jakupovi?.
Thankfully, the Tigers held off relentless pressure to reach the final and condemn their opponents to a ninth successive season in the second tier of English football.
Tickets will be available from the Away Ticket Office outside the away end from 6pm (cash only), although supporters should note that there is a price increase of £2 per ticket for fans paying on the night.
Please note that it is the policy of Derby County that any child under the age of 13 must be accompanied by someone aged 18 or over, and children under the age of two are not permitted inside the stadium.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Pride Park for whatever reason, as this evening’s clash is being shown live on Sky Sports Football.
We’ll also be keeping you right up to speed with events during today’s game. Our social media channels will keep you up-to-date on events during the 90 minutes, and take you behind-the-scenes at the home of the Rams.
And don’t forget to join us on Snapchat – TigersOfficial. By adding us on Snapchat you’ll get to see exclusive behind the scenes content and videos from the Pride Park throughout the night.