Derby County travel to manager-less Barnsley on Wednesday evening for a relegation six pointer.
The Tykes sit three points ahead of Derby in 23rd place but Wayne Rooney’s men can take confidence from the fact they have picked up nine more points than their opponents this season. In terms of the league table that is deemed irrelevant due to the Rams’ points deduction but nonetheless they should fancy their chances of earning a positive result at Oakwell.
A late rally saw Derby almost battle back to rescue a point at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday but it ended in a 2-1 defeat with Curtis Davies becoming the club’s top scorer with an 89th minute strike.
Colin Kazim-Richards came close late on after being introduced from the bench and the 35-year-old is likely to feature at Oakwell.
We are predicting just two changes from the side that lost to Blackburn as Rooney looks to keep Derby’s dream of staying in the division alive.
With Sam Baldock replacing Kamil Jozwiak to lead the line Tom Lawrence has greater licence to drift around and find pockets of space to pick up the ball. Barnsley’s defence has been leaky to say the least this season and a player of Lawrence’s ability, receiving possession on the half turn between the Tykes’ midfield and defence would be a very dangerous proposition.
Quiz: Have each of these 24 ex-Derby County academy players ever played in the Premier League?
Lee Buchanan comes in for Craig Forsyth as the other alteration, a bit of squad rotation and also with the youngster offering a bit more of an attacking threat from left back. If the Rams’ survival aspirations are realistic, they cannot come away from Oakwell empty handed.