Derby County host last season’s playoff semi-finalists Cardiff City on Wednesday evening looking for their first Championship home win of the season.
The Rams have endured a difficult start to the campaign.
Injuries, a lack of a centre-forward plus a hindered transfer window have culminated in Derby’s worst start for decades. However, there are green shoots emerging.
Derby were the better side in their recent 1-1 draw with east Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Phillip Cocu’s side are playing with more fluidity going forward.
Cardiff are up next, and here is our predicted line-up for the Bluebirds clash.
Derby have opted to play with three centre-backs in recent weeks and the change in system has certainly helped the side become more solid defensively.
Curtis Davies is excellent in the air, while Matt Clarke can drive forward.
One potential area for concern, however, is distribution out from the back. Andre Wisdom featured at Forest, but the £4 million 2017 signing often struggled on the ball.
Mike Te Wierik joined the Rams from Groningen in the summer. The Dutchman struggled in a back four, but with better defensive protection he may now be ready to return.
The former Groningen captain came with a reputation as a ball-playing central defender. Derby will benefit from his presence as he gets up to speed with Championship football.
Graeme Shinnie and Jason Knight provide the energy in central midfield, while wide players Nathan Byrne and Lee Buchanan appear ideal for their current wingback roles.
Cocu has a decision to make with Louie Sibley returning to fitness, but the front three at Forest looked threatening throughout and deserve to retain their spots.