Derby County vs Aston Villa Preview: Third meet fourth in highly anticipated clash
Bruce and Rowett (above) meet last season in the Birmingham Derby.

Derby County host Aston Villa in arguably the most anticipated game of the Championship weekend.

With Derby County winning four of their last five, whilst in good goal scoring form - scoring nine goals in them games. Aston Villa are unbeaten in five, but have drawn their last two and will hope to get a positive result so they don’t drop away from Gary Rowett’s side and chances of promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

Rowett mindful of Villa’s strengths and threats.

The same fixture last year ended 0-0 and even though both teams were under completely different management Gary Rowett has predicted more of the same.

“I think it will be a cagey game, Villa will be mindful of our pace going forward and we will be mindful of their pace with the likes of Adomah and Snodgrass having the ability to create problems for any defence.

“They also don’t concede too many goals, so I think it’s a game where the team, the fans, everybody might need to be patient”

Rowett went on to talk about his mindset in these ‘big games’.

“The win against Middlesbrough was a marker, we don’t look at any game in the same light.

“The Burton game was an important game because if we won that game it would put us into the mix and the Barnsley game was exactly the same.”

Steve Bruce is looking forward to tomorrow’s big game.

After last weeks disappointing draw at home to Millwall, Bruce wants a reaction from his players in a big test.

“It’s a big game, big occasion, big crowd - just what you look forward to.”

Bruce went on to praise his opponents and their boss, “Derby pose a very big challenge, they’ve been 'there or abouts’ for the last two years but haven’t quite made it.”

After being questioned on his recent form at Pride Park Bruce replied, “It’s a very very difficult place to play but an enjoyable place. Touch wood I haven’t done too badly in the past there so let’s hope that continues.”

Team News

As for Derby’s starting eleven, Rowett stated “there will be defiantly one change due to Tom’s [Lawrence] injury.

“He will hopefully be available for Millwall, he’s just damaged one ligament so once the bruising has settled down he should be back on the pitch.”

Other than Lawrance’s absence Rowett is embracing the hard task of picking an eleven with a nearly fully fit squad.

Villa aren’t as fortunate with captain John Terry out for another two weeks, but Bruce is happy with the speed of his continued recovery.

“We are delighted with the progress. He’s bang on for when we thought, and we hope in another couple of weeks he will be back on the pitch in some capacity.”

Andre Green is another absentee, he is due back to full training early next week.

He is joined by Chris Samba (hamstring), Henri Lansbury (tight from Millwall game) and Alan Hutton (out due to a knock in training).