The 55-year-old Rams boss has recalled Julien de Sart, Jacob Butterfield and Ikechi Anya to his starting line-up.
They replace Bradley Johnson, Craig Bryson and Abdoul Camara respectively.
The latter, Camara, misses out due to personal reasons, whilst Bryson is ruled out of this evening's fixture at Pride Park Stadium with a minor injury.
Johnson, however, takes his place on the substitutes bench after a run of five successive starts.
There are also recalls for Cyrus Christie and Nick Blackman on the substitutes bench for the Rams ahead of tonight's meeting with Neil Warnock’s side.
Notably, Tom Ince, Derby’s leading goalscorer with 12, will make his 100th Derby appearance.
From back to front, McClaren has named an unchanged back five for the fifth consecutive Championship fixture.
Scott Carson retains his place in goal, whilst Chris Baird, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce and Marcus Olsson complete the backline ahead of him.
Julien de Sart will make his fifth appearance of his loan spell from Middlesbrough in the holding midfield role, whilst Jacob Butterfield and Will Hughes are paired together from the start for the first time since the 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic on New Year’s Eve.
Tom Ince makes his 35th appearance of the campaign, playing on the right flank, whilst Ikechi Anya plays on the left and Darren Bent, who scored two goals in the 3-3 draw with Bristol City last Saturday, leads the line.
McClaren will have Jonathan Mitchell, Cyrus Christie, Jason Shackell, Johnny Russell, Bradley Johnson, Nick Blackman and David Nugent all in reserve should he need them.
RamsTV spoke to Chris Powell, Derby's assistant manager, to discuss this evening's team selection and his final pre-match thoughts...
Derby County: Carson, Baird, Keogh (C), Pearce, Olsson; de Sart, Hughes, Butterfield; Ince, Anya, Bent
Substitutes: Mitchell, Christie, Shackell, Russell, Johnson, Blackman, Nugent
Cardiff City: McGregor, Connolly, Morrison, Bamba, Richards; Ralls, Halford; Noone, Gunnarsson, K. Harris; Zohore
Substitutes: Murphy, Bennett, John, Whittingham, M. Harris, Healey, Hoilett