Derby V Watford at Pride Park Stadium : Match Preview
31 August 2012 03:32
Jake Buxton is expected to return to the Derby squad for the visit of Watford.
Buxton, the Rams' leading scorer so far this season with three goals from central defence, missed the 1-1 draw at Wolves through illness.
Manager Nigel Clough must decide whether to recall Buxton or stick with James O'Connor alongside captain Richard Keogh at the heart of the back four.
Last season's top scorer Theo Robinson will hope to force his way back into the starting line-up after climbing off the bench to score Derby's injury-time equaliser at Molineux.
Tom Naylor (groin) and James Bailey (thigh), along with fellow defenders and long-term injury absentees Mark O'Brien (knee) and Shaun Barker (knee) are out.
Teenage striker Mason Bennett also remains unavailable as he is still away on England Under-17 duty.
Skipper John Eustace again misses out for Watford.
The midfielder has not featured since picking up a back injury in the club's league opener at Crystal Palace and again sits out at Pride Park.
Prince Buaben has not yet featured this term and he misses out against the Rams with a thigh problem.
Summer signings Fitz Hall and Alex Geijo continue to work on their fitness and hope to return to full training next week.
Midfielder Stephen McGinn rejoined his team-mates this week having put in a host of fitness work as he looks to return to first-team contention after lengthy knee trouble.
Manager Gianfranco Zola is likely to revert to the starting XI who saw off Birmingham 2-0 last weekend having made nine changes for Tuesday's 2-1 cup defeat at home to Bradford.