Derby County face Cambridge United on Saturday hoping to build on their 2-0 away victory at Carlisle United last weekend.
Paul Warne’s sides currently sit in ninth in League One, just three points off the playoff places.
Cambridge United find themselves in the same spot as the Rams just with a slighly worse goal difference. This makes Saturday’s clash a big one with what is expected to be a close affair.
Paul Warne has been playing a 4-2-3-1 formation as of late in contrast to his 3-5-2 system. Expect the same on Saturday as the Rams’ form has slowly been improving.
Here’s our predicted XI for the Rams this weekend.
Goalkeeper - Joe Wildsmith
Joe Wildsmith has shown no reason as to why Paul Warne shouldn’t start him.
The Rams shot stopper made a number of crucial saves last weekend at Carlisle United, his impressive form will leave Warne in no doubt but to start him.
Left back - Craig Forsyth
Derby County’s veteran defender has been as good as ever this season. His solid performances give the Rams some stability at the back, plus he’s been standing in as captain since Conor Hourihane has been injured.
He’s a must start.
Centre back - Eiran Cashin
Eiran Cashin is always one of the first names on the team sheet. The young Irish centre back is one of the best in the league and can make a real difference for Paul Warne’s side.
Centre back - Curtis Nelson
Curtis Nelson has been developing a good relationship with Eiran Cashin since joining the Rams at the start of the summer.
Nelson looks very solid and reliable as an option at the back, and should be started again here.
Right back - Ryan Nyambe
Ryan Nyambe looked really good in his debut against Carlisle United after joining as a free agent last week.
The former Wigan Athletic full back looked comfortable considering he’d only been at Derby for a few days. Expect him to just get better and better as time goes on.
Centre midfield - Tyrese Fornah
Tyrese Fornah is creating a role for himself in the Rams’ midfield. His physicality is ideal for the tough battles that League One provides.
The former Forest man could be crucial as part of Derby’s team on Saturday especially considering the injury issues in centre midfield as of late.
Centre midfield - Max Bird
Good news for the Rams. Max Bird will be involved this weekend. He’s been recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered against Oxford United in August and returned to training earlier this week.
Paul Warne has been very confident on Bird’s return and so we expect to see him straight back into a starting lineup that is crying out for some midfield quality.
Left wing - Louie Sibley
Louie Sibley has looked good on the wing. It’s not neccesarily his normal position, however his creative ability and decent burst of speed has helped him to perform well.
Expect to see him be a big part of the Rams’ attack again on Saturday.
Right wing - Nathaniel Mendez-Laing
It’s getting to a do or die position with Mendez-Laing who has not been good of late. Players such as Tom Barkhuizen will be breathing down his neck.
Regardless of these poor showings, Mendez-Laing has the ability to be one of the best players in the league, this could be his last chance to retain his starting spot though, so he’ll need to perform.
Centre forward - Martyn Waghorn
Derby’s top scorer so far this season is a no-brainer. Goals win games and Waghorn has been in good scoring form for Derby so Warne should have no hesitation in starting him.
Striker - James Collins
James Collins divides Rams fans at times, but there’s no denying his production. The Irishman scored twice against Carlisle United last weekend and is now just one goal behind Martyn Waghorn’s five.
Warne will likely start Collins again and as he’s a player full of confidence right now, expect to see him on the scoresheet against Cambridge too.