With just three matches of the season remaining, there is everything to play for for Peterborough United while Derby could be dragged into the relegation scrap should they lose.
Derby County -Vs- Peterborough United
Venue: Pride Park
Date: 20th April, 2013
Posh are currently on a 10-match unbeaten run and are desperate to keep that record going for the remainder of the season. Having played two teams in the play-offs, Posh now face two matches against teams who are looking to keep out of the relegation scrap that is going on.
First up is a trip to Pride Park to face Nigel Cloughs Derby County and there will be over 1,500 Posh fans making the trip to back the boys in blue.
The Rams have been in good form at home this season winning 10 of their 21 matches while losing just four matches. They`ve scored 39 goals at home while conceding an average of one goal per game at home. Only Cardiff, Brighton and Bolton have conceded fewer goals at home than Derby.
County have had an indifferent April having won their first match of the month, they then lost the next two without scoring a goal while they had to thank former Posh midfielder Paul Coutts for scoring a 90th minute equaliser at relegation threatened Barnsley on Tuesday night.
Posh will be looking to extend their unbeaten run but will be hoping they get more than a point as they`ve drawn three of their four matches in April so far. Their last outing was a battling goalless draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Posh are currently two places outside the relegation places but they are level on points with Huddersfield Town who currently occupy third from bottom. Should Posh pickup all three points, they will be just one point behind Derby who currently sit in 15th place in the Championship on 55 points.
Derby will be looking to gain revenge on Posh after suffering a 3-0 defeat at London Road back in October. Michael Bostwick opened the scoring in the 30th minute before a brace from young WBA loanee Saido Berahino in the final four minutes of the match sealed it for Posh. Derby`s Jake Buxton was sent off in the 70th minute after receiving two yellow cards.
Rams boss Nigel Clough is sweating on the fitness of leading scorer Jamie Ward who has been out with a hamstring and ankle injury. The 12-goal hitman has missed large parts of the season through a niggling hamstring injury.
Should Ward fail to recover in time, Clough will have the tough decision over whether to keep 16-year-old Mason Bennett in the starting line-up or recall Conor Sammon.
Influential midfielder Craig Bryson has also been struggling with a groin injury. He missed the midweek draw with Barnsley as Clough felt two games in quick succession was too much for the midfielder.
Former Posh midfielder Paul Coutts is expected to line-up against his former team looking to put one over Darren Ferguson who has managed him at both Posh and Preston North End.
Darren Ferguson welcomes back Jack Payne [pictured below] to the first team squad. The on-loan midfielder from Gillingham has recovered from an ankle injury he picked up in the recent Huddersfield match. He is expected to take the place of Danny Swanson who was carrying an injury in Tuesdays draw with Brighton.
Mark Little and Michael Bostwick are definitely out and are not expected to return to action this season. Craig Alcock will again deputise for Little while Shaun Brisley will keep his place in the defence.
Vital Posh predicts just one change to the starting line-up with Payne replacing Swanson:
Brisley, Zakuani, Knight-Percival
Alcock, Payne, McCann, Rowe
12 – Ward
9 – Robinson
8 – Sammon
13 – Dwight Gayle
12 – Lee Tomlin
6 – Grant McCann
Mark Heywood takes charge of his 3rd Posh match of the season while it will be his first ever time in charge of a Derby County match.
To find out details of how he has performed this season, click HERE.
He will be assisted by Paul Graham and Mark Howes.
The fourth official is Geoff Law.
Every match remaining in the Championship will be tight affairs with not many goals. This match is expected to be no different.
Derby are good on their home turf having only lost on four occasions this season but their recent lack of goals is something that Posh will be hoping continues.
If Posh can keep it tight at the back, they are always capable of scoring a goal and if they play as well as they have in the past week, then there is no reason why Posh can`t come away with three points.
Posh to win: 0 – 2.
UP THE POSH
Follow me on Twitter: @mwl1967
Photos/images courtesy of www.theposhpics.com.
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