After what can only be described as a Third World-esque bout of the shits, the Bristol City squad now looks to put the toilet paper away and gain some momentum after a good start to the season has somewhat faltered.
Despite the talent and experience at Pride Park, Derby have not enjoyed the best start to the campaign and could be facing a fifth straight defeat should City manage to pick up their first away win of the campaign.
A worrying statistic is that since February, City have only managed to claim 10% of possible points away from home and have not won away since beating Reading in February.
With key members returning to action for City, it promises to be an entertaining match.
Derby’s home fans are sure to want to see the team push forward which could result in goals, but I rather doubt this will be a festival of goals.
Derby recently pulled off the loan transfer of James Vaughan from Everton, who will definitely feature at some point and could be a real handful if given the chance. Injuries however, have caused havoc in the Derby defence and hopefully City can put them under pressure and force mistakes.
All that praying for City keeper Basso seems to have done the trick as Jesus and Gary Johnson should reward him with another 90 minutes between the posts despite contractual discussions still ongoing. The fact the Dean Gerken has only just stopped cacking himself silly is probably significant but if some divine intervention means a clean sheet from the Brazilian, I imagine few will care. Maybe the chaps upstairs could arrange for a few goals too, or is that too much to ask?!
City should also be boosted by the fact that Nyatanga and Clarkson both played a full match for the reserves against Swindon last week in a 6-2 thrashing, in a match which also saw Stephen Henderson and Danny Haynes put in good performances as they strive to regain full fitness. This is all good news.
After predicting an open game, City boss Gary Johnson vowed to attack against Derby:
“I like going to Derby and teams like that who try to play football, then you can see the beauty of the Championship…They’ve got some good forwards and they’ve got a decent side there but we’ve got to make sure we go there with confidence.”
Derby coach Gary Crosby remains in good spirits despite his team’s poor run of form:
“We are pleased to be back at home because our lads like playing at Pride Park in front of our own fans…Bristol City are a very good side and are again showing that they will be a competitive Championship team this season”.
Derby County Team News:
Derby centre-half Dean Leacock could make a return to the Derby starting line-up after 10 months out with a knee injury.
On-loan striker James Vaughan will make his home debut and could even start after joining from Everton.
Tricky but podgy winger Kris Commons should be fit to play after picking up a slight injury in the week.
Player to watch: Kris Commons
The Scottish international winger is one of the brightest talents in the Derby team on his day and is not afraid to take on players on either wing and often fancies his chances in front of goal.
Keeping the former Forest winger quiet will be an important part of this game.
Bristol City Team News:
Talismanic skipper Louis Carey could feature after missing the last two games with a knock to the knee.
Dean Gerken is one of the last players to return to fitness from the plague that struck down some of the other squad members which means Adriano Basso will continue in goal.
Lewin Nyatanga, Danny Haynes and David Clarkson have all recovered from illness, leaving Gary Johnson few selection headaches.
Questions will be flying about as to which formation will be employed however and the selection of Lee Johnson.
Player to watch: Adriano Basso
Well, I was going to pick Hartley or Maynard but Basso is likely to be under the spotlight.
Still in discussions regarding a contract, the Brazilian keeper played well against Scunthorpe and was unlucky to concede the injury time goal that saw City draw the game.
With Gerken playing so well before illness, Basso will need to maintain good form to stand a chance of keeping his place.
Nigel Clough will want to see Derby make chances and so it is likely Basso will be busy, so a good performance could really help City’s away form.
Match Facts & Stats
Bristol City still have not scored in the first half of a game yet this season and are awaiting a first away win in any competitions.
Derby hold the better record between the two teams and have not been beaten by City in the last seven games.
Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)
Derby 1-1 City
Hope to be proven wrong but we’re still not convincing away from home. It looks nailed on that City will draw our fourth consequtive game for the first time in 10 years.
Tuesday 29th Sep: Bristol City v Blackpool
Saturday 3rd Oct: Newcastle v Bristol City