Date: 2nd November 2007 at 11:09am
Written by:

Uwe can’t pull the wool over my eyes Martin, a 1-1 draw with Bolton is not good enough, honest Gav or no honest Gav. Much improvement required this weekend please!

Vital Quotes:

Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill believes that Derby can still survive the drop this season despite finding themselves bottom of the league: ‘I don’t know the ins and outs of Derby, but that is the sort of feeling we had at Leicester early on. As it turns out we hung in the League Cup for a while, and by Christmas-time things were turning for us’ he told avfc.co.uk.

‘It was always a hard struggle for us in the first year even though we ended up finishing ninth, I think.’

With Spurs new manager believing that they can finish in the European qualification places, perhaps they’ve got a point about Derby? Either that or they may need to consider medication for Mr Ramos.

O’Neill’s opposite number Billy Davies is confident that his side don’t need a ‘lift’ ahead of the Villa Park clash and that confidence is still high despite a poor start to the season. Speaking to the official Derby County website Davies remarked: ‘I’ve never had a problem lifting the players, and we’ve never had a problem understanding who we are and what we’re about.’

‘Aston Villa are a club that has changed with new ownership, an excellent manager in Martin O’Neill and excellent staff there too.

‘It is another great challenge, a huge experience, so we will go down there to try and cause problems and to try and win the match.’

Aston Villa Team News:

Fresh from scoring a stunning goal, that a well placed wheelie bin could have managed, Luke Moore may return to the starting lineup.

Big JC may make it into the squad as he continues his fightback from injury.

It remains to be seen (apparently) if Scott Carson returns in goal for Villa. His replacement did not install too much confidence, spilling what I thought was a fairly simple shot to deal with that nearly cost us dearly.

Hopefully Mr Salifou will be on the bench, let’s face it the current lot aren’t exactly pulling up trees at the moment!

Player to watch: Stiliyan Petrov

If you can’t perform against the worst team in the league, what hope is there?

There was a slight hint in the previous match that perhaps Petrov can actually play football, it’d be nice if he could take the criticism he’s had and ram it firmly down the throats of those making the noises.

Go on Stan, you know you want to!

Derby County Team News:

Derby striker Kenny Miller is doubtful following his hamstring injury picked up in their defeat at the hands of Everton last weekend.

Andy Todd continues to have multiple injuries, apart from that everyones fighting fit!

Player to watch: Giles Barnes

Barnes was courted by a number of big names over the summer but chose to stay loyal to the club that gave him his break in football.

An exciting talent that our midfield will have to stifle quickly. The main threat in what is a distinctly average side.

Facts Time:

Derby County were formed in 1884, which just so happens to be the same year that the Japanese Commander-In-Chief Isoroku Yamamoto was born. He was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbour!

Derby were once managed by former Villa manager John Gregory, who was sacked in 2003 due to misconduct.

Derby’s nickname is The Rams, did you know that a Ram is described as an ‘uncastrated male sheep.’

It should be noted that Derby County fans aren’t however uncastrated male sheep.

Aston Villa have won just one game in the last 5 league and cup appearences. THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH MARTIN.

Ref Watch:

The referee for the match is none other than Mark Halsey who comes from Lancashire.

Halsey’s last game was in League One, overseeing the Leeds United V Millwall match. He has sent off just one player this season, Phillipe Senderos walking as Arsenal beat Pompey 3-1.

The last time Mr Halsey was in charge of a Villa fixture, April 2007 as John Carew and Shaun Maloney combined to defeat Manchester City at Eastlands.

Match Prediction:

4-1 Villa win this week.

Agbonlahor (2), Barry, Laursen.

I’d put money on that if I were you.

Next Fixtures:

Next up for Villa is a trip to Birmingham City to roll in some of their mud next Sunday.