Blues boss Mick McCarthy looks ahead to tonight's clash with the Rams
Mick McCarthy believes this evening's opponents, Derby have been reinvigorated by the return of Steve McClaren, but is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the in-form Rams.
Having taken over with the club sitting in 20th position, McClaren has taken Derby to within touching distance of the Play-Off places.
"They have an expensively assembled squad with good players," he told Ipswich Player HD.
"Steve left, came back, and has rejuvenated himself as well as the club and now they're absolutely flying.
"They played really well against Leicester on Friday in the cup so they've had another day to rest up but it's a great challenge for us and we're looking forward to it.
"I thought we played well at Preston and it was probably a fair result on chances but I think we had the chances at 1-0 to put it to bed.
"At the end they had the pressure, and it was a deflection that beat everybody, but I thought we passed it well, defended, and put in some great blocks and challenges.
"We caught them on the break a number of times and didn't manage to score. All in all I thought it was a good performance and I'd settle for that every week."
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Mick McCarthy has no fresh injury concerns to deal with for the visit of Derby, but is still without a handful of first-team players. Danny Rowe is unlikely to make his debut after completing his move from Macclesfield, while Steven Taylor will have to wait for his international clearance to come through before he can pull on a Town shirt for the first time. Teddy Bishop played for the U23s on Monday so won't be in the squad for this evening's game. Jonny Williams [shoulder], Giles Coke, Luke Hyam [both knee], Tommy Smith [back], and Myles Kenlock [calf] remain out.
The Rams will be without new signing, David Nugent with the former Middlesbrough man missing out with a knee injury. Will Hughes will also miss the trip to Suffolk due to a hamstring injury he sustained in the FA Cup draw with Leicester, although Ikechi Anya and Nick Blackman will travel having recovered from hamstring and knee injuries respectively. Max Lowe [groin] and George Thorne [leg] remain out.
Where They Stand
Last Time They Met
Luke Varney scored the only goal at the when Town visited the iPro Stadium in September. It was a resilient performance from the Blues who had to rely on Bartosz Bialkowski's saved to keep out the Rams early on. Varney struck midway through the second half with a long-range effort which slipped through the hands of Scott Carson, and it was to be all that was needed to claim all three points, although Derby did come close late on, but a combination of Bialkowksi and Jonas Knudsen denied Nick Blackman what looked like it would be a late equaliser.
The Leicester loanee is having his own 'Goal of the Season' contest so far this campaign, as he added to his ever growing list of wonder-goals against Preston at Deepdale on Saturday. Tom has been linked with a move away from Portman Road this window, although Mick McCarthy confirmed he will be here until the end of the season, so there's plenty of time for him to add to his catalogue of screamers.
The former Blackpool man has rediscovered his best form under Steve McClaren, and currently leads the Rams' scoring chart with nine goals to his name so far. Since the former FC Twente boss returned to the iPro Stadium, Ince has been in lethal form having been ostracised by Nigel Pearson, who left the club earlier in the season. During McClaren's first spell with Derby, Ince scored 11 times in just 18 appearances under him, and he will be looking to add to his tally on Tuesday.
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Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referees: Matt Foley & Robert Hyde
Fourth Official: Keith Stroud