Derby County latest: Stuart says,

27 March 2010 09:48
Stuart reviews the home game against Leicester City. I don't know if it's just me but I can't see Derby County versus Leicester City as a local "derby" game.Nottingham Forest are our local rivals, aren't they? And the history of that rivalry, and the Graham Richards commentaries, and the memories (some good, some bad), are enshrined in local folk-lore are handed down from father to son, mother to daughter, father to son. Part of it is the connections with Brian Clough but the rivalry with Nottingham Forest goes further back than that. Brian Clough just raised it a few notches.Obviously Leicester City are in the East Midlands too but I honestly cannot remember any talk of a local rivalry (no more than say Birmingham City, Coventry City, West Bromwich Albion or Wolverhampton Wanderers) until that play-off final when Derby County threw away a winning position to allow Leicester City to claim their place in the Premiership.After that, understandably I think, games between the Rams and the Foxes took on a whole new meaning for a few seasons but, for me, that's had its shelf-life now and is well past its sell by date. I hope I'm not doing Leicester City fans a disservice but it seems to me that this so-called local rivalry is something that means far more to Foxes fans than it does to Rams fans. I can honestly say that I see a game against Leicester City as just another game; it doesn't have the same emotional pull and intensity of a Derby County versus Nottingham Forest showdown.That said, today's game is a very important one for both football clubs, for completely different reasons. Leicester City, in their first season back in the Coca-Cola Championship, are aiming for back-to-back promotions. With eight games to go, Leicester City are 4th with a seven point safety cushion and look to be heading for the playoffs. How funny would it be if Leicester City were to beat Nottingham Forest in the playoff final? Yes, Leicester City fans see Nottingham Forest as their local rivals too, but I'm not sure Forest fans see it that way either.I don't need to tell you why the game is important for Derby County. The Rams have just seven games remaining and are six points clear of the relegation zone, although most of the teams below us have a game in hand.Derby County are currently unbeaten in their last three games, having drawn all of those games. The draws away from home against Sheffield Wednesday (0-0) and QPR (1-1) showed a strong fighting spirit, particularly at Loftus Road where the Rams had to come from behind. But the home draw against Middlesbrough remains a disappointment. Yes, taking the whole 90 minutes into account, it may have been a fair result but all I remember is that we were 2-1 up, against ten men and, with time running out, we allowed the smallest player on the pitch to score an equaliser with a header.Derby County have drafted in another loan signing this week. I don't envy Radio Derby's commentator Colin Bloomfield his job today if the loanee from Wigan Athletic comes on because I haven't got a clue how you pronounce Tomasz Cywka.If there is any meaningful history between Derby County and Leicester City beyond that playoff final, then Robbie Savage has played a huge part in it. For all but the 0-0 draw at the Walkers Stadium earlier this season, our captain has worn the blue Foxes shirt. Today, Savage will almost certainly captain Derby County against one of his former employers and I, for one, won't object if he earns a late penalty that wins the game for the Rams.Derby County have drawn the last three games. Now, at home, it's time to turn those draws into victories.We need three points.Stuart Hughes27th March 2010Derby County Mad is on facebook. Search for "Derby County Mad" and join the group.