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After being hit with a 21-point deduction and a transfer ban, Derby County’s chances of Championship survival this season looked particularly slim, but Wayne Rooney‘s side have continuously defied expectations to remain in the fight.
Having finally broken into a positive points tally late last year, the Rams have now won five of their last 10 Championship outings, including a run of three straight victories over Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City, before extending an unbeaten run to five games with a 2-0 defeat of Sheffield United.
While they went on to pick up just a single point from the next three games, Rooney’s men returned to winning ways against Hull City earlier in February, sending the Tigers home empty-handed as goals from Craig Forsyth, Tom Lawrence and Festy Ebosele sealed a 3-1 victory.
However, their season took another turn last time out, as a trip to Middlesbrough resulted in a 4-1 thrashing, despite Max Bird drawing them level late in the first half.
That meant the Pride Park outfit still have plenty of work to do to overturn the odds and avoid the drop, and, with a five-point gap to bridge to complete what would be an eye-catching turnaround, they will see a victory on Saturday as vital.
Derby will likely remain without striker Colin Kazim-Richards and winger Kamil Jozwiak, as the duo continue to battle through injuries, while centre-back Richard Stearman will serve the final game of his three-match suspension after picking up a red card in the third minute of their defeat to Huddersfield Town.
Rooney may look to make changes to his XI, with the likes of Festy Ebosele, Louie Sibley and Ravel Morrison vying for starts after they were on the bench for the recent disappointing 4-1 defeat.
Midfielder Krystian Bielik has been a key man for the Rams since his return from a long-term injury, and the former Arsenal man will continue to operate as an anchor in the centre, while talismanic captain Tom Lawrence will be trusted with a key role going forward again, having netted nine goals and provided five assists in the league this season.
Peterborough will again come in without defenders Mark Beevers and Dan Butler, with Ferguson expected to name a similar starting XI to the one that was deployed in the draw with Reading.
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Jonson Clarke-Harris led the line again in that game, but Jack Marriott, who has often made appearances off the bench for the Posh this term, will hope to feature from the outset against his former club, for whom he netted 17 goals for after making the switch from Peterborough in 2018.
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Allsopp; Ebosele, Davies, Buchanan, Forsyth; Bielik, Bird; Knight, Sibley, Lawrence; Plange
Peterborough United possible starting lineup:
Benda; Thompson, Knight, Kent, Coulson; Fuchs, Brown, Norburn; Ward, Clarke-Harris, Poku