Steven Caldwell could return after recovering from a virus but Mitch Hancox is now out for three weeks. Keith Fahey could be included in the squad.
Derby hope to have Craig Bryson fit but Jamie Ward and John Brayford are still injured.
The sides met at Pride Park in November with the game ending 3-2 to the home side. Blues surrendered a 2-1 lead given them by King and Lovenkrands conceding twice in the last ten minutes.
Blues slipped to 18th on Tuesday five points clear of the drop zone but only two points from 12th. They have won one and drawn three of their last six games.
Derby are in that 12th position but have not won a game for a month. They have gained only three points from their last six games. They have won only three of eighteen away games this season.
Another week, another point towards safety but it should have been better. Last Saturday’s horror show at Hull was another case of us failing to deal with a side that attacked us with pace. Lee Clark may as well have followed my suggestion of summoning a plague of locusts for all the good Caldwell and his defensive colleagues did for the first hour. The only positive was that our two late goals at least salvaged our goal difference a bit. While that game was poor, the Blackpool match was more disappointing. We played well as we have done in most games recently but couldn’t finish them off and succumbed to the inevitable equaliser. There was some poor finishing but I have since heard that Elliot got a nasty bobble for his bad miss so I’m not going to blame him for it.
With only three more games to go in March the chances of hitting the five point target rest mostly on what happens in tomorrow’s game. I don’t have much faith in us getting much from our trips to Middlesbrough and Palace but Derby at home is a different matter. Their last away win was in December and they are towards the bottom of the Championship form table. Of course form changes very quickly in this league so we shouldn’t take anything for granted but it is still our best chance of three points this month. A defeat tomorrow and we could be below Wolves when they come to St Andrews on Easter Monday. A win however coupled with a draw between Charlton and Huddersfield could see us rise as high as 12th.
As we rarely keep clean sheets we’ll probably need to score at least twice to take victory. The chances of doing that were dealt a hammer blow this week with the news that Marlon King is out for the season. The odd goal from a corner or midfield is welcome but we need our strikers to be putting it away more regularly. Since returning from being dropped Nikola Zigic has contributed all of one goal and January signing Wes Thomas is yet to break his duck. Maybe Peter Lovenkrands can start contributing more which we will need as only Chris Burke has been a consistent attacking threat recently. There are more positive signs in midfield with Callum Reilly and new boy Shane Ferguson doing well in midweek and Keith Fahey playing a full ninety minutes for the U21s on Monday. This game will probably come too soon for him but it’s great to see Keith back playing.
With ten games to go we can’t really call tomorrow a ‘Must win’ but it’s definitely a ‘Would be really good if we could win’ and I think we just will.
Blues 2 Derby 1
C’mon you Blue Boys.