This Week's Opposition: Derby County

Photo Credit: Derby County FC

The Blues extended their unbeaten run to 13 league games with a Good Friday away win at Adams Park.

A brace from Colby Bishop and a second-half strike from Christian Saydee saw the Blues win 3-1 at Wycombe Wanderers.

The gap between Pompey and 2nd place Derby County remains at 5 points as we head back to PO4, where John Mousinho’s side take on none other than Derby themselves in front of the Sky cameras for the second time this season.

MANAGER

Paul Warne is the man in the dugout for The Rams.

The midfielder started his professional career at the age of 23 when he signed for Wigan Athletic, before moving to Rotherham United, where he played over 250 games in all competitions.

Warne also played for Oldham Athletic and Yeovil Town with loan spells at Kettering Town and Mansfield Town too. He finished his playing career at former club Rotherham in 2012.

In total, Warne played 477 professional games and scored 64 goals.

He joined the coaching staff at Rotherham upon his retirement in May 2012 and then following the resignation of Kenny Jackett, Warne was appointed caretaker manager of Rotherham.

During his time as full-time manager, he won 3 promotions to the Championship in 2018, 2020 and 2022 with 2 relegations to League One in 2019 and 2021, before leaving the club in September 2022. He also won the 2022 EFL Trophy Final.

Warne was officially announced by Derby County as their new head coach on a 4-year deal in September 2022.

ONE TO WATCH

Our one to watch is number 9, James Collins.

Collins started his career at Aston Villa, however he failed to break into the 1st team. He has also represented a number of teams in the English Football League and the Scottish Premiership, including Luton Town and Cardiff City most recently.

The 33-year-old signed a 2-year contract for Derby in July 2022 and in his 1st season he scored 12 goals in 52 games during the 2022/23 season. 

In September 2023, Collins scored a brace in a 2-0 win at Carlisle United, the second of which was his 200th goal in senior football.

Collins has also represented Ireland at under-19 and under-21 levels.

The striker has accumulated 13 league goals so far this campaign and made 1 assist from his 33 appearances for The Rams.

TOP SCORER

The Rams’ current top goalscorer is Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

He began his career with Wolverhampton Wanderers, making his professional debut in 2009 at aged 19.

After loan spells with Peterborough United and Sheffield United, he joined Peterborough on a permanent deal in 2012.

Mendez-Laing made 60 appearances for The Posh with loan spells at Portsmouth, Shrewsbury and Cambridge before joining Rochdale. He made 83 appearances during a 2-year spell. He joined Cardiff City and helped the side win promotion to the Premier League in his 1st season.

The winger also played for Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday before signing a 2-year deal with The Rams.

Mendez-Laing has also represented England at Under-16 and Under-17 level before declaring for Guatemala in 2023.

The 31-year old has scored 24 goals in all competitions, currently sitting as the 2nd top goalscorer in League One. He also has 16 league assists this season

Mendez-Laing wears the number 11 shirt.

CURRENT FORM

Paul Warne’s side are currently sat in the automatic promotion places in 2nd, accumulating 81 points from 41 games.

The Rams have played 1 game more than Pompey with a +35 goal difference compared to the Blues’ +33.

Derby's last 5 games have brought in 4 victories and 1 defeat. Their only loss was against Northampton Town last Saturday when they also went down to 10 men - Ex-Pompey defender Sonny Bradley shown a straight red in the 10th minute of injury time at Sixfields.

In the reverse of this fixture at Pride Park, the game ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a late goal from Colby Bishop to gather a point.

Can Pompey secure another 3 points at Fratton Park in front of the Sky cameras?

All of the unmissable action will be right here on Pompey Live from 7pm on Tuesday (April 2nd) evening.

Kick-off: 8pm!

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