Chelsea have a potential banana skin of a tie to overcome to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup, as they travel to Derby County.
The Rams have emerged as serious promotion contenders since former England boss Steve McClaren was appointed to succeed Nigel Clough back in October. Mid-table when he was appointed, a run of eight wins in nine games catapulted them into an automatic promotion place, though that run was ended on New Year’s Day by Wigan, who edged a 1-0 victory at Pride Park.
An emphatic win at Southampton to begin 2014 seemed to prove that Chelsea have truly hit form, and they look in a strong position, just two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal. The Blues’ record in the FA Cup in recent years is also something to behold, as they have lifted the trophy in four of the last seven seasons, the first of those coming under Jose Mourinho – the final trophy of his first spell in charge.
Derby could hand recalls to Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon, both of whom came off the bench in the defeat by Wigan.
For the visitors, Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard will both be out until the end of the month, while Marco van Ginkel is a long-term absentee.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Derby v Chelsea