Inside Track: Derby County

By SFC Media time Tue 15 Jan Saints v Derby
Photo by Matt Watson

Derby Telegraph journalist Steve Nicholson answers our questions on Southampton's FA Cup opponents, ahead of Wednesday night's third-round replay...

What’s the mood like at Derby ahead of the replay?

Derby were lifted by the comeback from two down to draw 2-2 in the first game. They finished that match strongly and should take confidence from the character and quality they displayed in turning the game around. However, they had an off-night when beaten 2-0 by Leeds, at Elland Road, in the Championship on Friday amid all the 'spygate' rumblings.

The performance at Leeds was bitterly disappointing and they see the FA Cup replay as a good game for them, an opportunity to react and show that what we saw at Elland Road was not a true reflection of Derby this season.

there are likely to be changes against southampton.

steve nicholson
derby telegraph

What sort of a team do you expect Frank Lampard to field for the game?

He utilised his squad for the first game, making six changes, and he has hinted at making changes again in the replay. Lampard says the FA Cup is important to Derby, but he also knows that they have another big game at the weekend when Reading visit Pride Park Stadium.

Derby have won just one of their last six league games, collecting only six points from a possible 18, so they need to return to winning ways. This is why there are likely to be changes against Southampton.

Scott Carson is Derby's number-one goalkeeper but there could be a start for Kelle Roos, who played in the first game. Tom Huddlestone, Scott Malone and Jayden Bogle – all unused substitutes at Leeds – could be handed starts as could David Nugent, Martyn Waghorn and Florian Jozefzoon. Lampard told me: "We may need to use some of the squad. There are players that are pushing, so there may be some changes on that front.

Do you expect the same sort of approach/style of play as the first meeting?

Derby struggled for 50-odd minutes of the first meeting at Pride Park Stadium and barely laid a glove on Southampton, who had control of the contest, but Derby tweaked their system and suddenly asked questions of Saints. David Nugent was introduced as a second striker as the Rams switched from their usual 4-3-3 to more of a 4-4-2. They upped the tempo and found some belief. Tom Lawrence, who had been on the periphery of the game, produced two big moments in a four-minute spell – a clever assist for Jack Marriott's goal before he thumped an equaliser past Angus Gunn.

Derby fielded a young side – its average age was 24 – and three Academy graduates started in Jayden Bogle, Max Lowe and Max Bird. Derby will be keen to start the replay with greater tempo and purpose, and will look to get at Southampton more than they did in the first half of the first game.

Which players should Southampton watch out for?

Harry Wilson missed the first game due to a hip problem but he is back in contention to play some part in the tie. The 21-year-old Welsh international on-loan from Liverpool has emerged as a key player. He is joint leading scorer on ten goals with Jack Marriott and offers a significant threat to opponents from set pieces.

Wilson's goals have all come in his last 19 starts. Nine of Marriott's goals have come in his last 16 starts, a strike rate that deserves respect, and he has shown a liking for scoring against Premier League opponents this season. The striker found the net in the Carabao Cup ties against Manchester United at Old Trafford and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and scored in the first game against Southampton.

i don't think either side would welcome extra time with important league fixtures at the weekend.

steve nicholson
derby telegraph

Mason Mount was the pick of Derby's players in the early part of the season. The 20-year-old's form has levelled out, and dipped at times, but the midfielder on loan from Chelsea has the ability to make a key contribution, if he starts. He has been a regular starter, but was an unused sub in the first game.

What sort of a game are you expecting to see?

An open game. As I said, Derby were not at it in the first 50-odd minutes of the 2-2 draw at Pride Park and they will want to start better this time, but they know it will be another tough game. Southampton, and Nathan Redmond especially, showed they can trouble Derby. I don't think either side would welcome extra time with important league fixtures at the weekend.


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