Mar 29, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Pride Park
DerbyDerby County
CharltonCharlton Athletic
Russell (18'), Bamford (38'), Martin (84')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Derby County vs. Charlton Athletic

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between playoff hopefuls Derby County and relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic at the iPro Stadium.

Derby County's stuttering form continued on Tuesday with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ipswich Town, a result that saw the Rams slip to fourth in the Championship table.

A home tie against Charlton Athletic on Saturday provides Steve McClaren's side with an appealing chance to respond immediately, but to do so they will need to rediscover their winning ways.

Their 5-0 victory over bitter rivals Nottingham Forest will live long in the memory, but it remains their only success in their last six matches - a run that has seen their automatic promotion hopes go up in smoke.

They still sit comfortably in the playoff positions with nine points separating them from seventh-placed Forest, but McClaren will be fully aware that they cannot afford to hit a bad run of form at this stage of the season.

The Rams remain the second highest scorers in the league, but that golden touch in front of goal has deserted them lately, with the notable exception of the win over Forest.

Things are better at home, however, where they have lost just twice in the league since September, a run that stretches 15 games. They have also kept things tight at the back in recent weeks, conceding just one goal in their last five home league outings.

The hosts are likely to welcome Will Hughes back into midfield, but long-term injury absentee Paul Coutts remains sidelined.

For Charlton, it is the second trip to the East Midlands in the space of a week having picked up a priceless 1-0 victory over Forest on Tuesday to keep themselves clear of the relegation zone.

Three points is still the gap between themselves and the bottom three, although the Addicks' destiny is very much under their own control considering that they have three games in hand over the majority of their relegation rivals.

Of course, they need to make the most of those games in order for them to mean anything, but new manager Jose Riga has made a promising start to life at The Valley with just one defeat in five matches so far.

Goals are still very much an issue for Charlton, who have scored a league-low 26 in their 35 games so far this season and have managed just two in their last seven in all competitions.

However, Riga has certainly improved things at the other end of the pitch with four clean sheets in his five games at the helm so far.

There are even signs of improvement on the road, with Tuesday's victory over Forest ending a 10-match winless streak away from home for the Addicks.

Jonathan Obika could be given the nod to start up front, but Riga will once again be without the injured duo of Leon Cort and Chris Solly.

Recent form


Charlton: LDDWLW

Possible starting lineups

Derby: Grant; Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Hughes, Hendrick, Bryson; Bamford, Martin, Russell

Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins; Ajdarevic, Jackson, Poyet, Cousins, Ghoochanneijhad; Obika

Sports Mole says: 1-0

Manager of Derby County Steve McClaren looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at Pride Park Stadium on October 05, 2013
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Preview: Derby vs. Nottm Forest
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