Derby County have plenty of reason to celebrate. The club secured an impressive 4-2 victory over Leeds United on Wednesday to claim a 4-3 aggregate win against the Whites and advance to the final of this season’s Championship promotion playoffs, where they will face Aston Villa.
The Rams have worked hard this season and their efforts were rewarded by the way in which they managed to comeback during the game.
Frank Lampard’s Derby side will however not have things easier during the final as they will be underdogs against a very able Aston Villa outfit.
Even though the Villans failed to win automatic promotion to the Premier League this season, they arguably have the best side in this season’s English second-tier on paper.
To make matters worse for Derby, they are set to have to make do without the services of left-back Scott Malone for the final, according to a report published by Birmingham Live.
After picking up a red-card during the game against Leeds, Malone will be suspended for the final.
His absence is likely to mean that Lampard will have to rely on the services of Derby veteran Ashley Cole for the final.
During his heyday with Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole was regarded as one of the best defensive players in the world. After leaving Chelsea in 2014, he went on to have an unsuccessful stint with Roma in Italy before moving to LA Galaxy in a move which was successful.
He signed a short-term contract with Derby in January. It will be interesting to see if the veteran stays on for another season should the Rams win promotion.