Derby County vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Owls in desperate need of result as pressure builds on Carvalhal

Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to get a vital three points in The Championship as they take on Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon. 

Derby returned from the international break by winning 2-0 against their fierce rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park which has given everyone connected with the club a huge boost. However, they will be aware that they must back this up with another positive performance on Saturday afternoon. 

As for Wednesday, they were beaten 2-1 by Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium. This was a very poor result for The Owls as Wanderers had not won a game all season yet fully deserved the three points. 

How they've fared so far

Derby have made another slow start to this campaign but Gary Rowett will be hoping that their East Midlands derby win over Forest last weekend could be a springboard for their season. Derby's issue so far this season has been their inconsistency and inability to put in a run of good performances and results. This is the main reason that they find themselves sat in mid-table and not closer to the play-off places. 

One player who could be very important for Derby this season is Matej Vydra. The 25-year-old played a key role in the win over Forest by scoring and also picking up an assist. The combination of Vydra and David Nugent was very effective against Mark Warburton's side and this may be something that Rowett decides to continue with against Wednesday this weekend. On their day, they are capable of causing any defence in the division problems. 

Derby supporters will be hoping their side can pick up another three points on Saturday as they have some very tricky away trips on the horizon. Saturday's game is followed by away trips to Norwich City and Leeds United which will not be easy. If they can pick up another win against Wednesday, they can head into those games full of confidence. 

As for Wednesday, it has without doubt been a very poor start to the season. Carlos Carvalhal has led The Owls to back-to-back play-off finishes during his two years in charge so far, but the chances of making that three years in a row already looks slim. The club's hierarchy has backed Carvalhal heavily in the transfer market in recent years and were hoping the club could challenge for automatic promotion this season. However, they have made a dismal start to the season and currently find themselves just above Derby in the league.

After the somewhat embarrassing defeat to Bolton last time out, Carvalhal is under huge pressure to secure a result against Derby this weekend. If they were to fall to another defeat, it is difficult to see the Portuguese manager keeping his job for much longer as they would be drifting too far adrift of the leading pack. If they do perform to their full potential, then they are more than capable of securing a result at Pride Park. 

Last time they met 

Derby last played Wednesday in The Championship in a 2-1 defeat at Hillsborough in April. The Rams had taken the lead early in the second-half through Darren Bent but quick fire goals from Steven Fletcher and Gary Hooper turned the game on it's head. The Owls were then able to go on to secure a vital three points to aid their play-off push. 

Derby came out 2-0 winners the last time these two sides met at Pride Park. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)
Derby came out 2-0 winners the last time these two sides met at Pride Park. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)

However, Derby did get the better of Wednesday when the sides last met at Pride Park as they came out 2-0 winners last October. Cyrus Christie put the home side in front in the first-half before Alex Pearce doubled their advantage after the break. 

Team news 

Despite suffering from a slight muscular injury after last weekend's win over Forest, Richard Keogh should still be fit to play a part in this one. Rowett will also be boosted by the return of midfielder Bradley Johnson who was suspended for last weekend's match. It will be interesting to see whether he returns to the starting line-up. 

As for Wednesday, Jordan Rhodes picked up an ankle injury in the defeat to Bolton which could see him miss out on this one. However, it does not seem the injury is as bad as many feared. One positive for Carvalhal is that he may be able to select goalkeeper Kieran Westwood after he has missed the last three games through a rib injury.