Derby County v West Bromwich Albion; Pride Park, Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 7.45pm
After securing a first league victory at the weekend, Steve Bruce’s team take on Derby County at Pride Park looking to progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup.
The Rams suffered relegation to League One at the end of last season, largely due to a 21 point penalty for financial irregularities, and currently sit in eighth place in the third tier. Wayne Rooney opted to leave the club in the summer as the takeover saga rumbled on and, while that was eventually resolved on 1st July when local property company, Clowes Developments, completed their acquisition of the club, a permanent replacement has not yet been confirmed with Liam Rosenior remaining in charge of the first team on an interim basis.
So far this season, the Rams have lost just once, 1-0 at Charlton Athletic, and have beaten Oxford United and Barnsley in their two games at Pride Park this season. They beat Mansfield Town at Field Mill in the first round of the Carabao Cup. Their two most recent results have been 0-0 draws at Shrewsbury Town and Fleetwood Town.
Steve Bruce will almost certainly use the fixture to give time to some of his fringe players and, with no new striker yet signed, it would seem inevitable that Reyes Cleary will get another chance to impress. The side is likely to be very similar to the one that beat Sheffield United in round one, although with Alex Mowatt having left the club and Okay now a regular starter, Bruce may well look to mix things up in midfield.
Dara O’Shea was the only player to keep his place in the starting line-up for the last round, and it is at centre back where there is no obvious backup to both starters. Kyle Bartley will certainly play and, if Bruce did want to give both Ajayi and O’Shea a rest, he could play Livermore in the centre of defence, although that would leave few options in the centre of midfield. Perhaps Reach and Taylor Gardner-Hickman with Ashworth at left back and Ingram at right back but, with Callum Robinson and Matt Phillips to come in, there is still one spot left to fill – Tom Fellows, perhaps, or maybe Jamie Andrews?
That, of course, would be a very youthful line up with very little steel in the middle of the park and I would be very surprised to see it. I expect either O’Shea or Ajayi to keep his place with Livermore in midfield, possibly along side TGH given that Reach would probably best be employed on the left side, although TGH may prefer to play at right back.
Having said that, Bruce may be tempted to keep one or two more of the first team in place to try to build some momentum following the victory at the weekend. As always with cup games these days, it is very difficult to predict!
I’m sure the medical team will have input on which players are in the red zone, and which are good to play another game, so I’m sure that will play a part. As I’ve said before, I would like to see Albion progress – cup runs have never done much harm in my opinion as wins breed wins, so I would not be upset to see a strong line up. I’m not expecting it, however.
As Founder Members of the Football League, Albion and Derby have met frequently over the years, and Tuesday evening’s match will be the 124th such occasion. Of the previous 123, five of them have been in the League Cup and it is County who have the edge in that particular competition.
The first meeting in England’s secondary cup competition came in September 1986 when the two sides were drawn together in the second round. Albion found themselves in Division Two for the first time in a decade having suffered relegation while the Rams were heading in the opposite direction having just won promotion following two seasons in Division Three. The tie was over two legs with the first being held at the Baseball Ground.
Albion actually took the lead through a young striker called Steve Bull, the third and final goal he scored for the Baggies before manager, Ron Saunders, deemed it appropriate to offload him to Wolves thereby assisting their recovery from Division Four. The lead lasted just ten minutes before Jeff Chandler equalised for the hosts and further goals from Bobby Davison and Gary Micklewhite had County 3-1 up at half time. Davison added his second and Derby’s fourth after the break and the tie was almost over before the second leg. The Rams won that as well with Phil Gee scoring the only goal at the Hawthorns.
They were drawn together in the fourth round of the League Cup three years later in November 1989. It was a one off match on this occasion and it was the Rams who had home advantage. The result was similar with Ted McMinn scoring a goal in each half to send the hosts through at the Baseball Ground and County, by this time back in the top flight, confirmed their superiority in a Full Members’ Cup tie at the Hawthorns a week later thumping Brian Talbot’s team 5-0 with Dean Saunders scoring a hat trick.
Eleven years later, the clubs were drawn together again, this time in the second round over two legs. Derby were the home team for the first leg once again, but this time Albion were victorious coming from behind to win 2-1 in September 2000. Deon Burton’s goal had the hosts 1-0 up at the break but goals from Neil Clement and Richard Sneekes earned Megson’s team the victory. In the return leg at the Hawthorns a week later, Derby took the lead once again with Bjørn Otto Bragstad’s third minute goal squaring the tie. Jordão equalised on the night six minutes later but Chris Riggott put the Rams ahead once again just after the half hour before Neil Clement scored his second goal of the tie to make it 2-2 on the night at half time. That was as good as it got for Albion, however, and Derby scored twice in the second half with Craig Burley squaring the aggregate score before Bragstad got his second of the night to send the visitors through to the next round.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
27 Dec 2021 – League Championship
Derby County 1 (Kazim-Richards)
West Brom 0
8 Jul 2020 – League Championship
West Brom 2 (Diangana, O’Shea)
Derby County 0
Last win at Derby County
30 Aug 2003 – League Division 1
Derby County 0
West Brom 1 (Hulse)
Albion’s Record against Derby County
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