Behind Enemy Lines: Derby County

MILLWALL are going in search of back-to-back away wins. The Lions claimed their second away win of the season against Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night.

Another win at Gary Rowett’s former club Derby County could see the Lions end the day just one point outside the top six depending on other results.

However, they face a tough test at Pride Park against a Derby side that have not lost in 10 games on their own patch.

Alex Grace spoke to Rams fan Chris Parsons from the Steve Bloomer’s Washing Podcast this week.

Twitter: @SteveBloomerPod

Why do you support Derby?

I grew up in the East Midlands and had an older brother who got me into it in the days of Peter Shilton and Dean Saunders.

What has been your favourite season following the Rams?

It’s tempting to say 2013-14, when we finished third under Steve McClaren with 85 points.

But given that season ended in Wembley heartache, I'll settle for Jim Smith's promotion season in 1995-96. I was only young, but his team played sensational football in finishing second.

And the worst?

2007-08. I'm sure I don't have to explain why (relegated from the Premier League with 11 points).

Phillip Cocu was appointed in the summer, replacing Frank Lampard – how do you feel he has started?

Cocu has had a mixed start. He inherited a much weaker squad, but we've been hopeless away from home and his signings have been very hit and miss.

Former Derby Gary Rowett is now the Millwall Manage – what are your thoughts on that and do you think he is a good appointment by Millwall?

Rowett has to rebuild his reputation, given his failure at Stoke – but he's a good fit for Millwall.

Intelligent and pragmatic, he should get better results from Millwall's more committed squad than Stoke's, and I expect him to comfortably consolidate your Championship position.

Many thought Derby would kick on from last season but is it fair to say there has been a play-off hangover?

Derby's issue has been not replacing Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori, three superb loanees now kicking on in the Premier League.

The drink-drive incident was also a disgraceful distraction which has clearly affected the squad.

What are Derby’s aims this season?

Derby will still say their aim is the top six, but it will need a star turn from Wayne Rooney and at least two signings to make that happen. Top ten seems more realistic.

What have you made of Millwall’s start to the season?

Impressive. You've had some very good results against some of the promotion chasers, and frankly in our current form I'm far from convinced we'll get a result.

If you could sign one Millwall player, who would it be and why?

Jed Wallace looks like he could do a job in a lot of Championship teams

Who will be your key men on Saturday?

Krystian Bielik, if fit, will look to pull the strings from deep and break up play in midfield. It took him a few games to get going but he is now an imposing presence in the middle.

Will you be at the game on Saturday?

I can't make the game due to work.

What is your predicted Derby starting XI and formation?

Formation could be anything. Cocu has tinkered a lot recently, but hopefully he'll go with the diamond midfield and Jack Marriott and Chris Martin up top.

Hamer; Bogle, Davies, Forsyth, Malone; Bielik; Holmes, Dowell, Lawrence; Martin, Marriott.

Finally, a score prediction?

An entertaining, physical score draw: 2-2

Graphic: @ShedCreative