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This Week's Opposition: Derby County

Photo Credit: Derby County FC

The Blues fought hard against Peterborough United to come from a goal down to claim a 3-1 victory in their previous league fixture. Now Pompey will be looking to secure another win as they take a 384 mile round trip to Pride Park, where Derby County await.

John Mousinho’s side are currently sitting 5th in the table and are still unbeaten this campaign.

A new club record was recently set of 16 football league matches unbeaten, carrying over from last season - Following the win over The Posh, that run has been extended to 17 unbeaten.

With Joe Morrell out of the starting 11 due to a red card collected in the last game, as well as Tino Anjorin set to return to fitness, there will be some changes to Mourinho's side.

But first, let's take a look at our opposition. 

MANAGER

Former midfielder Paul Warne is at the helm of The Rams.

The 50-year-old started playing football with non-league side Great Yarmouth Town before moving on to Diss Town, with whom he won the FA Vase in 1994.

After playing for Wroxham, he started his professional career when he signed for Wigan Athletic, before moving to Rotherham where he played over 250 games in all competitions.

Warne also played for the likes of Oldham Athletic and Yeovil Town before he returned to his former club Rotherham, where he scored the equalising goal to beat Championship outfit Derby County 2-1 in the First Round of the League Cup.

He joined the coaching staff at Rotherham in 2012 upon his retirement from professional football.

Warne was appointed caretaker manager after the resignation of Kenny Jackett and during his time as full time manager, he won three promotions to the Championship in 2018, 2020 and 2022, however he also experienced 2 relegations back down into League One in 2019 and 2021.

He also won the 2022 EFL Trophy Final before departing the club in September 2022.

Warne was officially announced by Derby County as their new head coach on a 4-year deal in September of last year.

Following a stellar January which saw Derby have a 100% record, Warne was awarded League One Manager of the Month - However form collapsed after this and Warne oversaw just 6 wins in the final 18 games.

Derby finished in 7th place last season, the joint lowest league finish in the club’s history, missing out on a Play-Off place by just 1 place and 1 point.

ONE TO WATCH

Our one to watch this week is Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who wears the number 11 shirt.

Starting his career at Peterborough United he also went on to play for Rochdale, Cardiff City, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as being sent on a short loan spell to Portsmouth in 2012, where he made 8 appearances.

Mendez-Laing joined The Rams on a 2-year-deal in 2022 and scored his first goal in a win against Barnsley last August.

He would alternate as a winger and a wing-back during the 2022/23 season, during which he scored 8 goals in 51 games across all competitions

TOP SCORER

Derby’s top goal scorer so far this campaign is number 10, Martyn Waghorn.

Waghorn played for The Rams between 2018 and 2021, where he saved the club from relegation on the final day of the 2020/21 season with a penalty kick converted.

After his contract expired, he joined Cardiff City on a 2-year-deal before returning to Derby in August this year.

The 33-year-old has found the back of the net 5 times in his first 4 appearances, including a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Peterborough United.

CURRENT FORM

Derby are currently sitting 11th in the League One table. 

The Rams have 3 wins and 3 defeats to their name this campaign, including a 2-1 defeat on the opening day against Wigan Athletic and a recent 2-1 loss with 10 men against Bolton Wanderers.

The last time these 2 teams met was at the end of last season at Pride Park, where Derby came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw - A game that Derby so desperately needed to win to reach the Play-Offs.

Can the Blues keep up their unbeaten streak and bring home 3 more league points?

All of the unmissable action will be here on 93.7 Express FM when Pompey Live returns this Saturday (September 16th) from 2pm - Connor Moseley and Jake Smith present full pre-match coverage, half-time analysis and post-match reaction live from Derby County's Pride Park Stadium.

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