Derby County vs. Brentford: Play-Off six pointer at the iPro Stadium

It has got to that stage of the season where one result can be season-defining and nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Brentford’s trip to Derby.

Just one point, and two places, separates the two sides and both would feel that a win on Saturday could drastically alter their prospects of promotion, while defeat could be catastrophic.

Derby, in fifth place, could well begin to look up at challenging once more for automatic promotion with three points on Saturday, with five currently distancing themselves from second place Norwich. However, should they fail to win, they could well drop outside the play-off places in what has been a dramatic fall from grace of late.

A win last time out against strugglers Wigan marked only their first win in eight games. A damaging run of form at a vital stage of the season which has seen the Rams sink down the league table and seemingly out of the race for automatic promotion, despite topping the table numerous times this campaign.

Whereas for Brentford, a win could see them re-enter the top six, while defeat could leave them four points adrift of sixth place.

Bees boss Mark Warburton will not be entertaining the possibility of defeat and should take confidence from his side’s recent form. The west London club have won their last two on the road and are unbeaten in their last four games. They also boast the upper hand in this fixture, beating Derby 2-1 at Griffin Park in November.

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Derby will be without playmaker Will Hughes, who is suspended after picking up his 10th booking of the season against Wigan.

With Ryan Shotton still out with concussion, Steve McClaren has hinted he will be picking the same unorthodox back four that faced the Latics on Monday. Richard Keogh moved to right-back, to be replaced at the centre by Raul Albentosa. Forsyth stepped inwards from left-back to the centre-back, while Stephen Warnock made his first league appearance, starting on the left side of defence.

Brentford have a late fitness test for striker Chris Long, who missed Monday’s 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest with a stomach upset.

Captain Jonathan Douglas was given a breather against Forest and he is set to return in midfield.

Lewis Macleod has recovered from a hamstring injury but is has not reached match fitness and Scott Hogan remains sidelined with cruciate ligament damage.

 

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