The Rams’ Under 23s head to the south-coast on Friday night for a crunch clash with Southampton in their mission to retain their Premier League 2 Division 1 status.Darren Wassall’s squad will be looking for a return to winning ways at St Mary’s (kick-off: 7pm) and ahead of the meeting, dcfc.co.uk has pulled together all there is to know about the clash…
Lewis Walker will serve the final game of his three-match suspension when Derby County’s Under 23s take on Southampton at St Mary’s on Friday.
The Rams, however, could welcome Mason Bennett back into their matchday squad.
Charles Vernam and Callum Guy recently returned to the club, but will not feature again this campaign after suffering injuries with their respective loan clubs, Coventry City and Port Vale.
Offrande Zanzala continues to make good progress from his knee injury, but Tom Mellors, who recently underwent surgery, remains a long-term absentee.
Darren Wassall, Derby’s academy director, continues to be without Farrend Rawson, who remains with Coventry City until the end of the season.
Just two games remain of the 2016/17 season for Derby’s Under 23s and there’s no getting away from it, Friday’s clash with Southampton is a big one.
Ahead of the long trip, just four point separate the entire bottom half of the Premier League 2 Division 1 table.
The Rams, currently, occupy a place in the bottom two, but a victory over the Saints will not only take them out of that position, but will go a long way to Darren Wassall’s men securing their place in the top flight of Under 23s football for next season.
PositionClubPlayedWDLGFGAGDPoints6Tottenham Hotspur U23s2064103037-7227Manchester United U23s205782434-10228Sunderland U23s205782333-10229SOUTHAMPTON U23s205692635-92110Leicester City U23s204792539-141911DERBY COUNTY U23s2046102841-131812Reading U23s2053123152-2118
A strong run of form since the turn of the calendar year has given Derby a real fighting chance of staying up.
Notable victories against Manchester United and Liverpool have been boosted by draws with Reading, Leicester City and Sunderland since January.
A win tonight, though, would top all of them and that’s a feeling that has been expressed by Calum Macdonald, who says nothing more than a win is good enough.
The Scotland Under 21 international told dcfc.co.uk: “It’s been spoken about a lot and we know that we are in a position where we feel we need to get three points because a draw is not going to be good enough.
“We haven’t got an easy game on the last day of the season, so three points are huge and we have to get the win.
“We have picked up a lot of positive results and if we’d started how we’ve finished the season – we wouldn’t be where we are now. We just have to finish the job.”
Read Calum Macdonald’s full pre-match interview ahead of Friday’s clash with Southampton by clicking here…
Supporters wishing to support Darren Wassall’s side at St Mary’s will be able to gain access to the stadium FREE OF CHARGE.
DERBY COUNTY U23s 2-0 SOUTHAMPTON U23sMonday 31 October, 2016
Derby County’s Under 23s extended their unbeaten Premier League 2 Division 1 run to four games with an impressive 2-0 victory over Southampton back in October.
Five recognised first team players starred for Darren Wassall’s men with Jason Shackell, Andreas Weimann, Chris Baird and Jonathan Mitchell all playing 90 minutes in the win over the Saints.
Weimann, himself, capped off a workman-like display by opening the scoring, before turning provider as Timi Max Elsnik scored a crucial second goal on the cusp of half time, before the hosts held out to also claim their first clean sheet of the 2016/17 campaign.
Derby County U23s: Mitchell, Stabana, Lowe (Santos, 46), Baird, Rawson, Shackell, Gordon (Guy, 71), Elsnik, Bennett, Vernam (Walker, 87), Weimann
Substitutes not used: Lelan, Ravas
Southampton U23s: Lewis, Jones, Vokins, Reed (Rowthorn, 14), Stephens, Gardos, Willard (Afolabi, 80), O’Connor, Johnson, Slattery, Sims
Substitutes not used: Bakary, Parkes, Mdlalose
Rams supporters not attending Friday night’s fixture will be able to keep up to date with how Darren Wassall’s men get on by following the official Derby County Twitter account, @dcfcofficial, whilst a full match report, match images, reaction and match highlights will follow across dcfc.co.uk and RamsTV after the full-time whistle.
Tweets by @ dcfcofficial