The Ipro Stadium, Saturday 30th August, 3pm
Derby (projected 4-3-3): Grant; Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Forsyth; Eustace, Bryson, Hendrick; Russell, Martin, Ward
Derby form guide : WDLWW (Scored 10, Conceded 4)
Ipswich (projected 4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers, Berra, Smith, Mings; Anderson, Hyam, Skuse, Tabb; McGoldrick, Murphy
Ipswich form guide: WLLDL (Scored 4, Conceded 6)
Match odds from William Hill: Derby 7/10, Draw 5/2, Ipswich 18/5
- Derby have won only one of the last seven meetings. Their only win since 2010 was 2-1 at Portman Road in October 2012.
- Ipswich are unbeaten in the last six meetings at the iPro Stadium, winning four. Derby’s last home win was 2-1 in November 2006
An uncharacteristically flat start to the season- culminating in an error strewn loss to Charlton last week- had fuelled whispers in certain quarters that post Play-Off final blues were affecting the Rams both mentally and physically. They found themselves unable to marry defensive solidarity and attacking verve in the way they did so successfully last term. Following two much-needed home wins in the space of four days, a newly energised Derby County- infused with youth in their League Cup triumph on Tuesday- go in search of a third against Ipswich going into the international repose.
There is stiff competition for places across the board, while Steve McClaren and his team remain undecided as to who fulfills the holding midfield position best in the absence of George Thorne. John Eustace, Will Hughes and Omar Mascarell Gonzalez have all been given runs in the role. Versatile defender Ryan Shotton, recently acquired on a season-long loan from Stoke, could give Jake Buxton- who has clearly been struggling with his hip flexor- a run for his money at centre-back, as could Zak Whitbread. Jordan Ibe could make the bench. These are all positive headaches for Head Coach McClaren.
Rams View: “We’ve had the three games this week and I think we started well against Fulham and continued that against Charlton. The toughest test of the week is yet to come with Ipswich because any team of Mick McCarthy’s is very difficult to play against” Steve McClaren
It has been a difficult start to the season for Ipswich- eliminated in the First Round of the League Cup and falling agonizingly short against fierce enemies Norwich City in the Old Farm Derby. The conceding of preventable goals has been the main bugbear, but in their opening day strangulation of Fulham they displayed the requisite organisation, energy and commitment to survive and indeed, thrive in this division. Mick McCarthy is the architect of this team, cajoling his on-field generals Berra and Hyam, and midweek rumblings around his job security should be swiftly dismissed.
Jonathan Parr, Kevin Bru and Alex Henshall could all be pushing for a place as Ipswich prepare for a tough trip with just 16 senior players available. Conor Sammon is ineligible to face his parent club, while Cameron Stewart (jaw) and Stephen Hunt (calf) are still sidelined.
Tractor Boys View: “A knee-jerk reaction (to the Norwich defeat) is fully understandable. It happens more when it’s a big derby game. We’re neither high as kites nor low as a snake’s belly. By being like that you keep everyone on a consistent basis.” Mick McCarthy
An out-of-form Ipswich Town will still prove a tough nut to crack for Derby on Saturday. Their midfield shall work hard to counteract the numerical disadvantage that they will face against Derby’s triumvirate, and their defenders keep things simple. A fluent, ebullient 5-1 win over an admittedly shoddy Fulham side is strong evidence that the Rams are whirring into action, and new loan signings give fresh options. Derby to win by a nose.