Derby County will be looking to get back to winning ways this evening, as they make the trip to St Andrew’s to take on Birmingham City.
Boxing Day’s late defeat to Preston saw the Rams’ seven-game unbeaten run come to an end, although victory here could still lift them out of the Championship relegation zone, depending on results elsewhere.
Birmingham meanwhile, go into the game having won just two of their last 12 matches, meaning this could be a decent opportunity for Derby to pick up an important three points in the battle to avoid relegation.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look here, at the starting lineup interim Derby manager Wayne Rooney should name to give his side the best possible chance of picking up a win against the Blues.
Having used a 4-3-3 formation more regularly in recent games, that ought to be the system Rooney sticks with this evening.
In goal, the ever reliable David Marshall should retain his place between the posts, having done so in all but one league game so far this season.
Ahead of him, Nathan Byrne, Andre Wisdom and Matt Clarke have all been consistent presences in a Derby defence that has become increasingly solid in recent weeks, although the experience of Craig Forsyth could be useful against a physical Birmingham attack, meaning he could get the nod ahead of Lee Buchanan.
The centre of the park should see the experience and ability of Graeme Shinnie and Krystian Bielik look to dictate the pace of the game, while it could be worth Rooney giving Louie Sibley another chance ahead of Jason Knight, considering he has previously shown he does have the ability to produce something out of very little, which could be useful against what will likely be a stubborn Birmingham defensive setup.
Upfront, Rooney will definitely be forced into one change with Martyn Waghorn suspended after his red card against Preston, and after working his way up to fitness with some bright showings from the bench and for the Under 23s, this could now be a good time to hand Jordon Ibe his first start for Derby.
Elsewhere in the forward line, the creative spark of Kamil Jozwiak and the presence of Colin Kazim-Richards, who has emerged as a useful target man for the Rams since his move to Pride Park, should retain their places in the starting lineup for this one.