Cup match to go ahead tonight/latest team news

Last updated : 22 January 2008 By Chris Morris

The F.A. Cup 3rd round replay against Derby County is all set to go ahead tonight as fears of a second postponement have eased. Heavy rainfall since Saturdays Sheffield derby at Hillsborough had threatened the fixture, which was originally scheduled for last Tuesday but the rain eased on Monday night and the pitch has been deemed playable.

As for team news, Leon Clarke could well be in line for a start with Francis Jeffers still struggling with injury and Akpo Sodje may be rested. Having played an hour against Sheffield United on his return from injury Laws may not want to risk the talisman at this stage. Clarke is far from being a fans favourite but he does look fitter since returning from his loan spell at Southend and although he missed chances to score last Saturday it was encouraging to see him linking up well with Tudgay and he did well to set up the second goal. The only chance he has to win fans over is to keep his head down, keep working hard and play like he has a point to prove.

Elsewhere Esajas, Watson, Small and Wood are pushing for starting places but following the victory and the level of performance against Sheffield United on Saturday it is unlikely that too many changes will be made. Should the Owls prevail a 4th round tie against Preston at Hillsborough on Saturday awaits, defeat would mean the weekend off with Wolves away next Tuesday (29th January) the next league fixture.

Derby come to Hillsborough with a few selection problems of their own. Former blade Curtis Davies returns after suspension but ex-Leeds man Danny Mills is sidelined through injury and recent signings Robbie Savage, Hossam Ghaly, Emanuel Villa and Laurent Robert are all ineligible as they were not signed before the original tie at Pride Park.

Manager Paul Jewell has more or less written off the Rams hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League this season and he is hoping that his team can emulate Watford's run in the cup last season to give a lift to the players and the supporters.