Having failed to win any of their last 6 (4L 2D) Championship games, the Rams now risk missing out on finishing in the playoffs zone, having fallen 5 places and 10 points behind 6th positioned Sheffield Wednesday after 34 league games.
Derby County’s latest blow came on Tuesday at the hands of a struggling Blackburn Rovers side, but Steve McClaren will now look forward to changing his side’s fortunes when they host 10th-placed Barnsley on Saturday.
A win will take them to 10th place on the log and just maybe a run of good results in the last 12 games of the campaign will be enough to help save their season.
Barnsley handed Derby their first loss of the season on match day 2 back in August, and the hosts would be keen to see them off in an act of revenge.
Derby County line-up to face Barnsley:
Formation : 4-3-3
GK – Carson
The English goalie has appeared in every minute of the campaign for Derby, keeping 16 clean sheets. However, it will be interesting to see how he fares against the 5th highest scoring team in the Championship.
LB – Lowe
The teenage fullback has started the last 3 league games ahead of Olsson and is likely to retain his spot for Saturday’s game.
CB – Pearce
The centre-half could pass for Derby’s player of the season this term after consistent top-level performances, and more of it would be demanded of him in this most important phase of the campaign.
CB – Baird
According to McClaren’s pre-match interview, Keogh is unlikely to be fit in time for weekend’s clash, and the versatile Northern Irish defender will likely continue in his place.
RB – Christie
The 24-year-old fullback has been part of a defence that has conceded just 31 goals this term – the 2nd best record, and can be counted upon to help shut out the freescoring visitors on Saturday.
LM – Butterfield
The English midfielder has missed just 4 Championship games this term and is expected to make his 31st appearance on Saturday.
CM – Sart
The young Belgian is yet to miss any game in 2017 and is set to continue racking up the appearances as he is set to make his 8th league appearance this season.
RM – Hughes
The youngster has been splendid this term but has to up his performances if Derby are to have a shot at the playoffs, and much would be expected of him come weekend.
LW – Russell
The winger is yet to score or assist in months and considering the club’s current goal drought, much will be expected of him on Saturday if he’s given the nod ahead of Camara and Anya.
CF – Bent
Bent’s groin injury saw him miss the Blackburn game but he is set to train with the squad on Friday and would very much likely make the lineup for Saturday as Derby can do with every available attacking firepower.
RW – Ince
Derby County’s highest goalscorer must help the team find the back of the net frequently at this stage if they are to have any promotion hopes and it would be hoped that starts against Barnsley.