CONOR Sammon is set for only his third start of the season tonight as Derby County look to brush off Saturday’s disappointment and book a place in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, writes STEVE NICHOLSON.
Rams boss Nigel Clough, who was pleased with Sammon’s impact off the bench in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by Reading, is ready to unleash the Republic of Ireland international against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, kick-off 7.45pm.
“I thought Conor was excellent and there is a good chance of him starting at Leicester,” said Clough.
“We talk about players going on and having an impact, I thought he did just that.”
Sammon, who joined the Rams in a £1.2 million deal from Wigan Athletic last summer, only started against Oldham Athletic and Brentford in the Capital One Cup this season.
Sammon could come in tonight for Johnny Russell.
“There was a shout for starting Conor against Reading,” said Clough.
“I think the efforts Johnny Russell put in at Millwall and Bolton took a little bit out of him. He wasn’t as sharp Saturday.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We could have left him out and played Conor but then it would have been ‘why have we left out a striker who scored two goals in the last match (Bolton)’. You can’t win.”
Clough will assess his squad before deciding how many changes he will make tonight.
He said: “We will see who needs a breather. We are in a run of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday games, so we will probably make a couple of changes.”
As well as Russell, Jamie Ward and John Eustace could make way.
“Jamie was very close to not playing on Saturday,” said Clough.
“He did not train Friday, and it was touch and go with him.
“We have to look at him, Johnny Russell and John Eustace, and see how they are.”
Kieron Freeman could also come into Clough’s thinking in one of the full-back positions.
Both Paul Coutts and Michael Jacobs appeared as substitutes against Reading. Coutts replaced Eustace and Jacobs came on for Ward.
On Coutts, Clough said: “He did OK, but for somebody with his ability we want more impact from him in the game.
“He is always there and thereabouts, and with Jeff Hendrick being out he should be trying to get a place in that starting midfield three.
“Michael Jacobs had a good week or two training and that is why we put him on in Saturday’s game. He has been patient.”
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson has said he will make changes.
Defender Sean St Ledger (knee) and Chris Wood (hamstring) are out while new signing, defender Marcin Wasilewski, is expected to start as long as Leicester get international clearance in time.
Another new signing, former Blackpool forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher, is in line to make his home debut.
“I will be making changes,” said Pearson. “It is a chance to give one or two other players pitch time, but I don’ think we will be necessarily weakened. Hopefully we will see one or two new faces as well.
“We are making changes because we think it is right. We have named the same starting 11 three games on the spin.
“It is not a case of picking a different side because we don’t take it (the competition) seriously. We want to win this game. The players who start will be looking forward to playing and to staking a claim.
“If this was a league fixture I would still make some changes based on the fact that we probably need a bit of freshening up. It is not because it is a cup game.
“As far as I am concerned the cup games so far have helped us to build a run which has been positive at the start of the season and I want that to continue.”