'˜A win for Derby County over Aston Villa will send out a strong message to Championship challengers'

Action from Derby's Championship game against Birmingham.Action from Derby's Championship game against Birmingham.
Action from Derby's Championship game against Birmingham.
The Rams ended the unbeaten run of Birmingham City on Saturday.

The Blues had gone 11 games without losing and it was a game in which the team proved that they could adjust to alternative tactics after conceding in the the first ten minutes of first half and being frustrated for the rest of it.

It was obvious that a different plan of action would be needed after the break and The Rams didn’t disappoint!

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Mason Bennett, Harry Wilson and Jack Marriott scored the goals in a second half, which in contrast to the first, saw Derby dominate and look dangerous every time that they ventured forward.

Three points were achieved without the Chelsea loan players too! Mason Mount was missing due to an ankle injury and Fikayo Tomori dropped to the bench, though Frank Lampard stressed it was a case of dropping him and more a case of resting the centre half.

With Mount missing it gave Duane Holmes a chance to show what he could do! His playing time has been restricted to Carabao Cup games since signing from Scunthorpe, but the American youngster impressed in the second half with his ball skill and speed.

Tomori being rested saw the return to the starting line up of captain Curtis Davies. Lampard now has the enviable position of having more players at his disposal than he can fit into the 18 man match day squad. Jack Marriott and now Duane Holmes have been allowed to settle at the club and work their way in to the team.

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Craig Bryson is now said to be ready for a return to the first team so that will give Lampard yet another option in defence.

This Saturday sees the visit of Aston Villa before we head in to another international break.

Villa have recently parted company with Steve Bruce and now have former Walsall and Brentford boss Dean Smith at the helm.

There’s no ignoring the fact that they have been one of the division’s under performers, having a glut of talent in their squad. Smith will no doubt be eager to impress in the first job he has had with one of the big clubs.

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Derby must continue where they left off last Saturday and hopefully continue to put the pressure on those above them, but with the division tighter than ever from the top all the way down to mid table, it’s a task easier said than done.

A victory on Saturday will send out a very strong message and will be a great way to go into the break.