After being hit with a 21-point deduction and a transfer ban, Derby County’s chances of Championship survival this season looked particularly slim, but Wayne Rooney’s side have continuously defied expectations to remain in the fight.
Having finally broken into a positive points tally late last year, the Rams have now won five of their last 10 Championship outings, including a run of three straight victories over Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City, before extending an unbeaten run to five games with a 2-0 defeat of Sheffield United.
While they went on to pick up just a single point from the next three games, Rooney’s men returned to winning ways against Hull City earlier in February, sending the Tigers home empty-handed as goals from Craig Forsyth, Tom Lawrence and Festy Ebosele sealed a 3-1 victory.
However, their season took another turn last time out, as a trip to Middlesbrough resulted in a 4-1 thrashing, despite Max Bird drawing them level late in the first half.
That meant the Pride Park outfit still have plenty of work to do to overturn the odds and avoid the drop, and, with a five-point gap to bridge to complete what would be an eye-catching turnaround, they will see a victory on Saturday as vital.
Peterborough United also arrive in desperate search of a win in their own bid to preserve their second-tier status this season.
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Following their promotion from League One last term, the Posh have struggled to steer clear of the bottom three over the course of the campaign and now find themselves in an eight-game winless run.
That streak since late December has provided just two points for Darren Ferguson’s side, with one of those coming on Wednesday against 21st-placed Reading after consecutive defeats at the hands of Sheffield United, Cardiff City and Preston North End.
Neither side were able to break the deadlock in Cambridgeshire, seeing Peterborough remain three points behind the Royals in 21st spot, and, with crucial points on the line in the fight for survival, they will turn their attention to the trip to Pride Park in their search for an elusive win