Reckon Bobby will be back to the bench for this one, after playing the full 90 for the first time this season at the weekend. Likely it'll be Wilson with one of Hemed/BZ up top. March and Murphy on the flanks (both been in great form of late).
Just glad you lot drew on Sunday meaning we can't be leapfrogged regardless of the score here! Still the unbeaten scalp to be taken though so expecting County to be right up for it. Never enjoy our visits to Pride Park especially with the recent memories of the past couple of heavy defeats there. We're a much stronger unit nowadays though.
Think the midfield battle of Kayal vs Thorne will be key to this one, we need to stop the latter from dictating the game. Not sure if we'll stick with our usual adventurous 4-4-2 or revert to a 5 man midfield if Crofts is available. I'll trust Hughton to make the right call as he has done in every "big" game such as this so far.
That said, we'll certainly be needing to keep things a bit tighter early on as it was a bit of a stark reminder vs Charlton that we can be got at with quick counter-attacking football. Thankfully we were able to learn plenty from that without it costing anything in terms of points on the board.
Whilst our home form is decent we're facing the hardest team to beat so far this season. There's obviously a lot of motivation for both sides to keep/break Brightons record and I imagine it'll pan out as a pretty cagey affair.
Brighton will be happier with the point than ourselves but at the same time it's still not the end of the world as we're still only in December. As long as we avoid defeat I'll be content.
I'm sure there will be plenty of Bobby Z/Play off semi bantz flying around and we're pretty close to a full house so should be entertaining.
Finally back in England for a weekend where I can make use of my season ticket! First time since Wolves in October. Not a bad one to be back for.
As expected, Zamora back to his usual role of coming off the bench, with Hemed & Wilson starting up front. Not played alongside each other yet so no idea if they'll click or not.
Usual 4-4-2 with two wingers. Murphy will need to put in a serious shift to help Calderon out at LB, bit concerned about him getting exposed down that side up against Ince (and presumably Russell later in the game).
I thought we were ok second half for the majority, applied plenty of pressure to try find a second but Brighton showed why they haven't lost all year - very well organised. The mistake for their second in the middle of the park was disappointing as we looked very steady ourselves but there was always a chance we could get suckered on the break.
I think a point is about right, if we were a little more clinical infront of goal, like BHA were then today, then we could have had the game wrapped. Arguably we easily could have lost if it wasn't for an 88th minute penalty too.
Decent game though, bit of a kick to it. Doesn't hurt either team too much, Brighton are still unbeaten and that's one loss in 15 for us now. Both will look to kick on from here after sharing the spoils.
It was an odd second half. At the break I was thinking I'd be more than happy with a point based on the first 45, Derby were pretty fired up and generally in the ascendency. But the second half just fell really flat for a good 20-25 minutes, partly us taking the sting out of things quite effectively but there was a surprisingly lack of urgency and energy from Derby I thought, and once la Parra bagged our second I did think we'd see it out okay.
Draw seemed a fair result though in all. Penalty incident was clumsy from Greer but still felt a bit harsh. Really sloppy play just prior to that from Ince to put us in trouble before Dunk bailed us out. Can't complain one bit with a point and the team effort given our injuries and the quality we were up against. March looks to be out for a while which is a blow.
Thought Bruno was our standout, some real classy moments on that right flank. Kayal and Stephens grew into the game really well and proved they're among the best midfield partnerships in the league. Keogh is a nuisance to play against, the way he's able to carry the ball out with a burst of pace and essentially get a free run at the opposition, didn't really do it as much in the second half though.
Hugely encouraged in all, the resolve and ability to grind out results is there for all to see. God knows how long we'll stay unbeaten for but its gonna be fun finding out..
- Brighton looked dangerous on the break and were very clinical
- feel sorry for their fella who went off injured that we played on, but considering Brighton had 4 players injured within the first 20 minutes who miraculously made quick recoveries (and happened as we were well on top and had real momentum) I'm sure we can be forgiven.
- I hope the tempo of the play isn't what clement wants. We looked far too pedestrian
- at points we had butterfield, Johnson and Thorne sat in front of the back four. It meant we had no outlet in midfield to play the ball forward
- Brighton remind me of Burnley when they last won promotion.
Not a bad finish either. He's looked alright (on limited viewing) - bit hit and miss in general play but cannot argue for one second with a match winning assist and near match winning goal in two sub appearances. A productive start..