Pride Park, for the first time. Derby match preview

Last updated : 05 February 2004 By Michael Morris
It's been just about 18 years since we played at Derby County. City went down 2 - 1 on St Davids Day, 1986. It was the old Baseball Ground in those days. City played at the Baseball Ground 4 times in the 80's, the defeat mentioned above, a 3 - 2 win and two draws, a 0 - 0 and a 1 - 1.

The teams never met in the 70's. Derby County were winning League titles in the top division.

Derby County won promotion to the Premiership in 1996 and ended the 96/97 season in 12th place.

They started the 97/98 season in the newly built Pride Park (below), 30,000 all seater.

Derby have had their troubles recently. Loss of their Premiership place, fall outs with managers (most noticably John Gregory) and now they have a relegation battle on their hands. Derby sit one place above local rivals Nottingham Forest and one place above the drop zone.

Cardiff City sit in a far more comfortable 11th place, 11 points ahead of the Rams. The play off places are only 5 points away. No time for City to be complacent though, defeat at Derby woud see only an 8 point gap between the teams and with 16 games still to be played City could find themselves in the wrong half of the table. Stoke have proved how things can be turned around. When Cardiff won at the Britannia in December the Bluebirds were in 7th place. 14 points ahead of Stoke who dropped into the bottom 3. Now just 8 games later Stoke City are level on points with Cardiff in 12th place.

Saturdays game at Derby is a 1pm kick off but that will not deter the travelling support. After years of lower league grounds the next 4 away games see City visit Derby (new stadium), WBA (premiership ground), West Ham (premiership ground) and Millwall (new stadium). There are suggestions around 2,000 City fans are going to Derby.

Team news will follow on Friday with attention focussing on City's midfield. Will Kav be fit to play? and will John Robinson be part of the 16 after his scoring comeback for the reserves yesterday?

Derby County have lost Lee Morris to Leicester City this week and they have failed to bring in Rotherhams Darren Byfield as a replacement after Ronnie Moore rejected George Burley's bid.

City go to Derby looking for a league double. The SKY TV live game back in August at Ninian Park ended 4 - 1 to Cardiff with goals for Alan Lee, Robert Earnshaw, a Kav penalty and a header from James Collins. (Match report here)

Derby County v Cardiff City
Pride Park, 1:00pm.