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View From The Town End: Derby County FC

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These two games both ended in 3-0 wins for the away side last season but what can we expect this time round? We got the thoughts of Ollie from The Derby County Blog.

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

How would you sum up Derby's season so far?

The results haven't been as good as we expected, but there is no need to panic after six games. The most disappointing performance was undoubtedly the first half against Leeds, when we were second to everything - but we probably should have beaten Birmingham and definitely should have won against Charlton. A streak of four draws on the trot is freakish and hopefully, the win against Preston on Saturday will be the catalyst for a better run of form in the next few weeks.

Pre-season you predicted a top six finish, has anything you've done since the summer changed that view?

Local man made good Mel Morris has taken over as sole owner and made around £10m available on deadline day for two new midfielders. This made it abundantly clear that he wants to see the club reach the Premier League as soon as possible. Given the total investment of some £20m in transfer fees during this window, a top six finish is the absolute minimum expectation.

Any fond memories of games between the two sides?

Not many, to be honest. As you'll know, Derby's record against Reading in recent years has been appalling. Last year's trend-bucking, comfortable 3-0 win at the Mad Stad was foretold by Rob Langham of The Two Unfortunates when he wrote me a preview piece - and it probably said more about the situation at Reading at that time than anything else.

Any not so fond ones?

In 2009, an ordinary Derby side beat Reading at Pride Park, but the game was marred by an incident in which Brian Howard went down hurt and the club mascot, 'Rammie', decided to take the mickey out of a player he clearly thought was 'codding'. Howard had actually sustained a really bad injury and I heard that the Reading players 'had words' with Rammie in the tunnel...

Which Rams player should we be particularly wary of on Tuesday?

"Chrissy Martin, Derby's number nine" (to be sung to the tune of 'The Animals Went In Two By Two' - there are further lyrics, but they're unsuitable for publication on a family website). If Martin was a bit more mobile, he wouldn't be playing at this level. I love him - bolshy, combative, an arch manipulator of centre backs and technically excellent, as shown by his superb brace against Preston on Saturday. A threat to defences both due to the quality of his link-up play and his finishing ability.

Any Reading player you're not looking forward to facing?

Matej Vydra is a real menace on his day and Orlando Sá is clearly a dangerous player. After taking a look at the highlights of Reading's startling 5-1 dismemberment of BigMickswich, it's clear that things are very much on the up for the Royals - they look sharp. Defensively, we will have to do much, much better than the Tractor Boys, who looked surprisingly dozy at times on Friday night and gifted Reading a couple of their goals.

Finally, score prediction?

That's a difficult one. Looking at the stats, it's very impressive to note that Reading have restricted their opponents to less than five shots in the whole game on three occasions - that's amazing. And they also have more shots on target per game than anybody else. Working the opposition goalkeeper hard and refusing to offer the opponents a sniff is a pretty good recipe for promotion - if it can be sustained for the whole season.

I think this will be a tight and tense affair, perhaps settled by a single goal, or most likely the odd one of three. It would be a massive win for Derby if we could take it...

Thanks again to Ollie and you can follow the chaps over at DCB @derbycountyblog