City’s upturn in form continued with a third successive away win at Wigan on Saturday, and the games continue to come thick and fast with the visit of promotion-chasing Derby on Tuesday night. A few weeks ago this one would probably have been written off, but recent wins against fellow high-fliers Barnsley and Peterborough mean that Gary Caldwell’s side will have no fear going into this fixture. Caldwell hinted post-Wigan at a few changes to rest weary legs, which could mean a first start for Ryan Woods, while Pierce Sweeney has often found himself benched for midweek matches, which could mean a start for one of Aimson, Hartridge or Fitzwater. Elsewhere Mo Eisa celebrated his first start for City with his first goal and will hope to continue up front.
After something of a transitional season last time following relegation and financial woes, Derby have justified their tag as one of the promotion favourites this season, currently sitting in the second automatic promotion place albeit with Bolton having several games in hand. Paul Warne’s side go into Tuesday night’s visit to Devon on the back of a disappointing home draw with lowly Shrewsbury, and have two wins and two draws in their last five matches. As befits a club of Derby’s stature, City will have to contend with quality all over the pitch, with the line led effectively by the veteran James Collins, who has 18 goals in all competitions. Conor Hourihane in midfield is another player to watch, while one player hoping to take the field will be former City loanee Kane Wilson, who has featured regularly albeit as a late substitute in recent matches.
The reverse fixture at Pride Park saw Derby ease to a 2-0 win that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested – goals in each half from Mendez-Laing and Washington sealing the win. Last season’s match at the Park, the first time Derby had visited for a league match, finished 2-1 to the visitors – 2-0 up through a brace from McGoldrick, Sparkes pulled one back before the rest of the game was seen out in controversial style due mainly to the antics of the Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith, who was considered very fortunate to remain on the pitch after a number of incidents that no doubt the Big Bank may remember on Tuesday night. As a result of these wins Derby have established a league head to head lead of 2-0, with the other match a draw.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Scott Tallis
Assistant Referees: Simon Shaw and Mark Derrien
Fourth Official : James Durkin
This will be Scott Tallis first time taking charge of an Exeter City game.