With four points from their last two games, Gary Rowett’s side will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to three tomorrow afternoon when they take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
Locked on 29 points, nothing separates the two sides ahead of this meeting and dcfc.co.uk has put together a pack with every you need to know going into the game…
WHAT’S THE LATEST TEAM NEWS
Sam Winnall remains an injury doubt for Middlesbrough after sustaining a knock to his ankle during training.
Bradley Johnson is also still unavailable and Rowett will be forced to make a late call on Johnny Russell after the wideman had an operation on his wisdom tooth on Thursday afternoon, but he is expected to be fine.
Rowett has revealed that Luke Thomas and Charles Vernam will be travel with the first team squad to the Riverside Stadium.
The instinctive striker has put together series of impressive performances for Darren Wassall’s Under-23s since returning from injury.
WHAT HAS THE BOSS HAD TO SAY
Speaking about David Nugent’s return to the Riverside Stadium, Gary Rowett told RamsTV: “You know what you’re going to get, he just loves playing football, he runs around with a smile on his face and he’s an infectious character.
“You need that positivity around the club and in the team, he’s been excellent for us and his goal record is pretty good.
“Him and Vyds have been the two in-form strikers, they’ve probably had more opportunities than anyone else.
“It’s in my mind that I need to maybe make one or two changes, but when you’re on a reasonable run, it’s difficult to do that.
“Sometimes the players that have been waiting for their opportunity are certainly motivated because they have to perform to stay in the side.
“It’s difficult to pre-empt who is going to be fatigued and who’s going to have an effect so sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling and pick a side that you hope will go and get another result.”
WHO THE RAMS NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR
Powerful striker, Britt Assombalonga initially made his name at Peterborough United averaging more than a goal a game with 33 conversions in 58 appearances.
A product of the Watford Academy, the Zaire-born attacker was brought up around Camden and made a total of four senior appearances for the Hornets.
During his time at Vicarage Road, Assombalonga also underwent three separate fruitful loans spells at Wealdstone, Braintree Town and Southend United- collectively scoring 26 goals.
The Congolese forward then joined Peterborough in July 2013 before Nottingham Forest secured his services the following year for £5.5 million.
And at the City Ground, Assombalonga continued his fine form in front of goal with 30 goals from 51 appearances over three years – a year in which he missed out on after picking up a serious knee injury.
After being appointed as Middlesbrough in the summer, Garry Monk made Assombalonga his top priority and the forward joined on the 19th July for a club transfer record of £15 million.
So far, the clinical striker has scored 11 goals from 18 appearances in the league and is the second top-goal scorer in the Championship behind Leon Clarke.
HOW CAN I SECURE MY SEAT
Tickets for Derby County’s 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship fixture at Middlesbrough this afternoon will be available on arrival at the Riverside Stadium.
Supporters had the chance to pre-purchase tickets in advance of the fixture before they went off sale on Friday afternoon.
There will be NO pay increase on the day, but Rams fans will only be able to pay in cash only to secure their ticket.
They can be collected from the visitors’ ticket office, which is situated next to the away support turnstiles, from 1pm.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adults - £30
Seniors (65+) - £20
Under-18s - £17
Further details can be found on the Middlesbrough website: https://www.mfc.co.uk/
LAST TIME OUT AT THE RIVERSIDE
MIDDLESBROUGH 2-0 DERBY COUNTY
Saturday 2nd January 2016
Two late goals saw Derby County edged out 2-0 in their top of the table clash with Middlesbrough in their first game of 2016.
In an evenly fought contest, Albert Adomah and George Friend netted in the space of two minutes late on to condemn the Rams side to only their third defeat of the 2015/16 season.
Chris Martin and Johnny Russell had the visitors’ best chances - both coming in the first half - but were left thwarted by a Boro defence that kept their eighth consecutive league clean sheet and their ninth successive blank at home as they went on to earn promotion to the Premier League.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Stuani, Leadbitter, Clayton, Adomah, Downing, Kike (Nugent, 59)
Substitutes not used: Mejias, Amorebieta, Kalas, Fabbrini, Forshaw, Zuculini
Derby County: Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Warnock; Thorne (Hendrick, 23), Butterfield (Weimann, 76), Johnson; Ince, Russell, Martin (C)
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Bent, Baird, Pearce, Shotton
Attendance: 32,870 (3,008 Derby supporters)
WHO ARE THE MATCH OFFICIALS?
Simon Hooper has been appointed to take charge of Derby County’s Sky Bet Championship clash away at Middlesbrough this weekend, kick-off: 3pm.
Hooper has officiated 18 games so far this term across the EFL, from which he has produced 54 yellow and one red card.
His last Derby game was actually quite recently. He took charge of the Rams’ meeting with Leeds United last month when Gary Rowett’s side ran out 2-1 winners at Elland Road.
In total, Hooper has officiated 11 matches involving Derby over the last nine years.
Hooper will be assisted by Philip Dermott and Akil Howson on the lines, whilst David Coote has been appointed as the fourth official.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Supporters based outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland will be able to watch every kick of the action from Derby’s trip to take on Garry Monk’s Middlesbrough.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s coming up on RamsTV:
- Pre-Middlesbrough Interviews (6pm) - RamsTV will be talking to manager Gary Rowett and former ‘Boro man David Nugent as they prepare to visit the Riverside.
- The Last Three (6.30pm) - Look back at the Rams’ last three games against ‘Boro including Johnny Russell’s late equaliser in the 2015/16 season.
- RamsTV Meets Malcom Christie (7pm) - The second part of Colin Gibson’s exclusive interview with the former Derby striker who left the Rams for ‘Boro in February 2003.
- Pre-Match Press Conference (LIVE) (8.45am approx.) – Head over to our Facebook page to watch Gary Rowett’s pre-match press conference live from the Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby.
- Middlesbrough Preview Show (6pm) - Owen Bradley is joined by former Rams stars and club ambassadors, Roger Davies and Marc Edworthy, as they share their thoughts ahead of Derby’s game against Middlesbrough.
- Matchday Live: Derby County U23s v Leicester City U23s (6.45pm) - RamsTV will have full build-up, live coverage, commentary, analysis and post-match reaction as the young Rams take on Leicester at Pride Park (Kick-off 7pm).
- Matchday Live: Middlesbrough v Derby County (14.15PM) - Owen Bradley will be joined by Michael Johnson and Darren Bent for live build-up to the Rams’ trip to Middlesbrough, including stats, analysis and an exclusive pre-match interview with Gary Rowett.
- International RamsTV subscribers will be able to watch the full game with live commentary and half-time and full-time analysis from the RamsTV studio.
- Facebook Live: Middlesbrough (17.30pm approx.) - Owen Bradley will be joined live on our official Facebook page with former Ram, Shane Nicholson, as they share your thoughts and answer your questions following the game against ‘Boro.
- Full Match Highlights: Middlesbrough v Derby County (12pm) - RamsTV will have all the goals, incidents and key match action from Derby’s trip up north to The Riverside.
- Matchday Relived: Middlesbrough v Derby County (6pm) - Finish off your weekend by watching RamsTV’s full coverage of Saturday afternoon’s match, including pre-game build-up, full match action, half time and full-time analysis and post-match reaction.
- Middlesbrough Review Show (6pm) - Owen Bradley, Roger Davies and Shane Nicholson will discuss how the Rams got on at Middlesbrough and will look ahead to Tuesday night’s game against Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town side.
The RamsTV streaming service is available to all supporters who register on dcfc.co.uk.
To access the full RamsTV streaming service will cost the following:
First-Team Match Streaming (outside UK) - £110 annual subscription or £12.50 per month
First-Team Audio Commentary (worldwide) - £45 annual subscription or £5 per month
First-Team Pay Per Game - Match Streaming (outside UK) - £5 for the individual game
A link to packages can be found here.
The two premium services are in addition to the regular pre-match and post-match interviews on RamsTV.
Supporters will also be able to follow all of the action, as usual, across our social media channels.
We will be providing behind the scenes content across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we will also provide a blow-by-blow account of proceedings at the Riverside Stadium.