Five storylines ahead of Saturday's fixture...
A first meeting
These two sides have never met in any competition; the closest they came was in 1998 when the clubs were paired together in the third round of the FA Cup but Wanderers lost their second round replay against Plymouth and it was the Pilgrims who went on to meet the Rams.
Few would have tipped the Rams – play-off finalists two seasons ago – to be propping up the table at this stage of the season, but their poor start to the season cost boss Philip Cocu his job and the interim management team have yet to turn the tide. As it stands, they could move level on points with the Wanderers with a win, but a victory for Gareth Ainsworth’s men would see them move six points ahead.
Only Wycombe and QPR in the bottom half have lost just one of their last six, with the Blues’ solitary loss in that period coming at Derby’s near neighbours Nottingham Forest. Wanderers have kept three clean sheets in that period, and earned a first away win at Birmingham, giving them confidence of extending the feelgood factor at Pride Park.
The Martin Taylor Derby
There’s a long list of players who’ve represented both clubs, but one name stands out above most and that’s goalkeeper Martin Taylor, who was tipped for potential England duty whilst starring for Derby in the 90s but a bad leg break curtailed his progress and he resurrected his career at Adams Park. Initially arriving on loan, Taylor ended up staying for seven years, starring in the FA Cup run in 2001 and winning multiple end of season awards, becoming a firm fans’ favourite.
Also on that list are Gary Ablett, Lionel Ainsworth, Ikechi Anya, Stephen Bywater, Darren Currie, Matt Duke, Frank Fielding, Michael Forsyth, Lewis Hunt, Jordon Ibe, Jason Kavanagh, Richard Keogh, Rob Lee, Tommy Mooney, Luke Moore, Chris Palmer, Adam Smith, Mark Stallard and Nathan Tyson, while John Gregory has managed both clubs.
The Rooney factor
Wanderers will come up against England’s all-time leading goalscorer in Wayne Rooney, who arrived at Pride Park in August 2019 and has now taken sole interim charge of the club, which he means he could stick to the dugout rather than feature in the Rams’ line-up on Saturday.