MATCH PREVIEW: DERBY v BOLTON
Posted on: Thu 27 Sep 2007
Derby County come up against a club that Billy Davies points to as a model of how to build a successful Premier League setup.
Bolton Wanderers won promotion to the top-flight in 2001 and have since gone on to enjoy a League Cup final appearance and European football.
Davies feels Derby can take a leaf out of Bolton's book as they look to restore themselves among the elite following promotion in May.
But while it's still only September, both sides will be looking for the three points to ensure they don't start to get cast adrift.
It's a meeting between the Premier League's bottom two after seven games with both teams locked together on four points.
Neither club will be pressing the panic buttons yet but equally both will be wanting to move up the table and away from 19th and 20th as soon as possible.
Greek star Stelios told www.bwfc.co.uk:
"Of course Derby is a big game - two teams who will want to win badly.
"It will be a hard and difficult game. We have not had a good start, we all know that, but we want to get out of this situation.
"We are all wanting to work hard for the team and I think we will make it."
Bolton boss Sammy Lee rotated his squad for Wednesday night's Carling Cup win at Fulham and made nine changes.
Danny Guthrie and Ali Al-Habsi made their debuts, Daniel Braaten and Christian Wilhelmsson were given their first starts, while Stelios was involved for the first time this season after a hernia injury.
Joey O'Brien and Ricardo Gardner are back in the frame too after lengthy injury-enforced absences.
Jlloyd Samuel is still out as he recovers from a torn hamstring.
For Derby, teenager Giles Barnes is again set to be among the substitutes after making his first appearance of the season last week.
The youngster suffered a foot injury in May's play-off final victory and is getting closer to full fitness.
Craig Fagan is still ruled out by his suspension, which runs for one more game after Saturday.
Derby's last away win in the Premier League came on March 16 2002, when they picked up a 3-1 success at Bolton.
That season they also did the double over Saturday's opponents having already won 1-0 at Pride Park in December.
Bolton's only win at Pride Park came in October 1999 when the then Division One side knocked Premier League Derby out of the League Cup with a 2-1 success.
The man in charge of Bolton that night was Phil Brown, in a caretaker capacity ahead of the appointment of Sam Allardyce.
Brown later went on to manage Derby from July 2005 to January 2006.
Derby haven't lost a league game at home to Bolton since September 1981.
If selected, Andy Todd will be playing against one of his former clubs - he made 84 starts and 23 substitute appearances, scoring three times, between August 1995 and November 1999.
Todd also played in that League Cup victory at Pride Park.
Rob Styles takes charge of Saturday's encounter at Pride Park.
The elite list official has already had a high-profile season that began with a red card for Reading's Dave Kitson - just 30 seconds after Kitson had come on as a substitute at Old Trafford.
Then he awarded a contentious penalty that gave Chelsea a 1-1 draw at Liverpool and picked up a one-match ban for his troubles.
Styles hasn't refereed a game at Pride Park since Derby lost 3-2 at home to Newcastle United in March 2002.
His last Rams assignment came in November 2002 as John Gregory's side went down 1-0 away to Norwich City.