Despite all of Derby County’s well documented off-field issues, Wayne Rooney’s side’s performances in the Championship so far this season have actually been relatively impressive, with the Rams picking up 10 points over their opening nine fixtures of the campaign.
However, it is undeniable that, following their 12 point deduction for entering administration, as well as a likely further nine-point deduction for breaching the EFL’s financial rules, Derby will need to pull off a miracle if they are to secure survival in the Championship this season.
So, with a win against Reading desperately needed this evening, will Rooney make any changes to the team that started in the Rams’ 1-0 loss to Sheffield United last weekend? Here’s how we think Derby could line up against the Royals, along with the latest team and injury news…
With Kelle Roos’ red card against Sheffield United, coupled with the continued absences of Festy Ebosele, Colin Kazim-Richards and Krystian Bielik due to injury, we predicted that Rooney will make three changes to his starting XI for the visit of the Royals.
Indeed, Roos’ suspension forces the 35-year-old into one change in defence, with Ryan Allsop – who replaced the dismissed goalkeeper against the Blades – coming in between the Derby sticks, while the back four of Lee Buchanan, Curtis Davies, Phil Jagielka and Nathan Byrne remains unchanged.
In midfield, Graeme Shinnie and Max Bird keep their starting spots in the middle of the park, however, both 32-year-old Sam Baldock and £2.7m-rated Louie Sibley – who started on the left and right flank respectively last time out – drop out of the XI for Kamil Jozwiak and the £5.4m-rated Jason Knight.
Meanwhile, Ravel Morrison and Tom Lawrence keep their places in attacking midfield and centre-forward, despite neither player having scored or assisted a goal in their past four appearances.