Derby (a) Preview!
After a long wait the new season is finally upon us and what a feast awaits us this season. After back-to-back promotions we find ourselves sitting in the Championship just behind the elite of English football in the Premier League. Off course there have been the inevitable mutterings about reaching that particular promised land but let`s take one step at a time.
First up are Derby County, a club with a fine history but a club that has also seen its fair share of turmoil in recent years. Managed by the son of their most famous incumbent of their managerial chair, Brian Clough, they too are looking to make that gigantic step into the Premier League become something more than just a humble dream.
This season there`s no doubt that we`ll meet a whole raft of sides that share our ambition and it could well turn out to be the most interesting season of our history.
So bring it on and let`s make a good start at Pride Park!
Posh enter a new season looking at an exciting challenge, a challenge that doesn`t faze Darren Ferguson who has issued the following battle-cry ahead of our opening fixture,
'We've taken a big step up in class and everyone needs to realise that. But it's still possible for us to have more success. We're not going into the Championship aiming just to avoid relegation."
'But we won't be able to play catch-up at this level so I'm looking for us to take our momentum forward and get off to a fast start 'We will also need to do other things better like keeping possession because if you give the ball away in this division it might take a while to get it back!"
'But we are entering the season full of confidence."
And Posh do so with our blessing as we seek to venture forth where not many of us can remember being!
Derby Team News:
Our hosts are expected to have Kris Commons, Robbie Savage and Lee Croft available but are likely to be without the injured Rob Hulse, Shaun Barker, Chris Porter and Dean Leacock.
Player to watch: Robbie Savage
I`m not even sure if the ageing Welsh international will start but if he does so there`s no doubt he`ll be the centre of attention. I guess you either love this guy or you hate him, I doubt there`s any middle ground!
Posh Team News:
Whelpdale is the only Posh player definitely ruled out although Darren Ferguson will have some crucial decisions to make. Keates and Mackail-Smith both recently returned from injury in the pre-season friendly against Sunderland, does Darren risk them both or will he be more conservative in his selection policy?
If Mackail-Smith isn`t deemed fit enough to take his place alongside Mclean then we expect Batt to ably deputise. In defence question marks remain over who`ll get the nod at right back, will it be Lee or will Martin hold onto a place he held all last season. Will Darren select any of the new faces - Rowe, Frecklington, Diagoura and Pearce?
It all points to an intriguing guessing game as we close in on our first fixture of the 2009/2010 season.
Player to watch: George Boyd
Has impressed immensely in the pre-season matches and is the most naturally gifted of our team. The Championship represents another step up for a player who came from non-league football but the Scotland 'B` international has the ability to rise to the occasion and his silky skills will, we believe, serve him well in this division.
Match Facts & Stats
The two teams have not played each other in anger since March 1994 when the sides drew 2-2 at London Road with Charlery and Iorfa scoring for Posh with Johnson and Nicholson getting the goals for the Rams.
Pride Park will be buzzing on Saturday, there`s every chance there could be anything up to 35,000 inside the stadium with up to 3,000 of them supporting Posh. Darren Ferguson will be looking to get off to a good start and we have this nagging feeling that the spoils will be shared in a thrilling score draw.
After making our Championship bow we head of into Carling Cup territory in a fixture against Wycombe Wanderers.