Teams: Derby County, Burton Albion
PREVIEW: BOLTON WANDERERS v DERBY
Posted on: Wed 02 Jan 2008
Derby County's 2008 fixtures get underway at the Reebok Stadium tonight with a game against a Bolton Wanderers side tipped to be among the strugglers come the end of the season.
Bolton sit two places and one point above the relegation zone but their tally of 17 points from 20 games gives them a ten-point advantage over the Rams.
Gary Megson arrived late in October and has helped to turn things around after the Trotters made a slow start.
They have a solid home record of four wins, three draws and three defeats from their ten encounters in front of their own fans so far this season.
Three of those wins have come in their last three home games against Manchester United, Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City.
And in Nicolas Anelka they have one of the Premier League's deadliest marksman, a striker supposedly in the sights of the division's leading clubs.
The Frenchman has already netted ten top-flight goals this season - including the equaliser when the two sides drew 1-1 at Pride Park back in September.
David Jones needs a hernia operation and is likely to be on the sidelines for several weeks, further increasing the pressure on Paul Jewell's squad.
Stephen Pearson, Stephen Bywater (both shoulder), Andy Griffin, Robert Earnshaw (both calf) and Andy Todd (back) were already due to be on the sidelines.
Dean Leacock picked up a pelvis/groin problem in the defeat to Blackburn while Michael Johnson and Claude Davis are both suffering from niggles.
No Bolton team news available at the time of writing.
Derby's last away Premier League win came at the Reebok Stadium when Malcolm Christie, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Danny Higginbotham struck in a 3-1 success back in March 2002.
Bolton's Jussi Jaaskelainen and Ricardo Gardner are the only players from that afternoon still with either club and they should feature tonight.
The home side's two unused substitutes that afternoon, Kevin Poole and Dean Holdsworth, went on to play for Derby in 2005/06.
Tonight's encounter will be only Derby's third visit to the Reebok Stadium following that 2002 win and a 3-3 draw in December 1997.
Defender Jay McEveley will make his 100th career appearance if he is involved either from the start or as a substitute.
A start for Craig Fagan will be the 150th of his league career.
South Yorkshire's Howard Webb takes charge of the Rams for the first time this season.
Webb's 20 games in 2007/08 - across some of Europe's top stadiums - have seen 61 yellow cards, but he is yet to dismiss anyone.
His previous Derby game was on Good Friday last season when he officiated the 1-1 draw at Leicester City.
In his notebook that afternoon were Matt Oakley, Jon Macken and Morten Bisgaard.
Originally Posted by Nico
I dont belive in jinxing mate, I do belive in playing at home with a 2-0 advantage against a team which I cant see scoring 2 goals!
Of course, if we lose, I'll never admit it was me who wrote this.
Forest 2-5 Yeovil aet
Brian Clough - Legend!