Steve Cotterill has warned Pompey: Forget about Derby’s freefall.
The Blues boss has issued instructions to his players to ignore Nigel Clough’s side’s inexplicable recent demise that has seen them suffer nine defeats from their past 11 games, including a humiliating FA Cup exit at non-league Crawley Town.
When the two sides met at Pride Park back in November, it was a clash between the two in-form sides in the division.
The Rams secured a 2-0 success to inflict the Blues’ first defeat in eight games on that occasion but there is a stark change in mood for the reverse fixture with both outfits desperate to halt a winless run as they slide towards danger.
Cotterill said: ‘Both teams were on a good run at the time but I wouldn’t take too much notice of their form because they could have been playing better than their results suggest – like us as well.
‘We certainly won’t be taking them lightly.
‘We didn’t get anything against QPR, Hull City and Millwall and deserved all three points in all of those games.
‘In this league, if the fixtures don’t fall right for you or you get a couple of cancellations, you can end up on the wrong end of four, five or six games.
‘But I think they are a great club and Nigel Clough has done a great job there. My thoughts haven’t changed on that since we played them.’
Cotterill would be keen to field an unchanged side from the midweek clash at QPR but revealed that he is waiting on an injury scare.
He said: My worries are about my own team and making sure that we can get the same 11 out on the pitch that we had the other night.
‘We had a bit of a square peg in a round hole with Joel Ward playing high on the right-hand side but I think we were lucky to get away with only one player doing that because we’ve had three or four all season.
‘But just from that one starting line-up, we have one who is a doubt for Saturday and that is my biggest worry.
‘He is no more than 50-50 at the moment.
‘I’m worried about that one person but I won’t be naming him.’