Derby County are set to play in the Championship promotion playoff final against Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium on Monday.
The Rams will go into the game as the underdogs. On paper, Villa do have a stronger side. However, Frank Lampard’s side have exceeded expectations this season en route to qualifying for the promotion playoffs and reaching the final.
If Villa are not on their toes during the game, an upset could just be on the cards. Derby boss Lampard has been linked with a move to Chelsea and it does remain to be seen whether this could end up being his final game at the helm of the Pride Park club.
During the Championship this season, the Rams were defeated twice by the Villains. This will give Dean Smith’s side somewhat of a psychological advantage heading into the playoff.
The Rams will have to make do without the services of left-back Scott Malone who was sent off during the playoff semi-final second leg against Leeds United, according to a report published by BBC.
This means that Ashley Cole is likely to start the game. The veteran defender joined the club on a short term basis during the January transfer window and this could serve as his final game in professional football. The report added that Jack Marriott will be pushing to start the game after scoring twice against Leeds United.
Striker Martyn Waghorn could also be set to play during the game after having missed out both games against Leeds due to injury.