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Preview: Derby County vs. Crewe Alexandra – prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s FA Cup clash between Derby County and Crewe Alexandra, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Having come from two goals down to keep their FA Cup dream alive, Derby County welcome Crewe Alexandra to Pride Park for Tuesday’s first-round replay.
The Rams fought back to hold their League Two counterparts to a 2-2 draw earlier this month, and a home clash with Bristol Rovers in the second round is on offer for the victors....Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Match preview
© Reuters
An unwanted chapter of history was nearly written for Derby in their opening encounter with Crewe Alexandra, who broke the deadlock through Courtney Baker-Richardson 41 minutes into the FA Cup tie before Elliott Nevitt doubled his side’s advantage.

On the brink of losing in the first round of the tournament for the first time ever, Paul Warne’s side cut the deficit in half as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s strike slipped through Harvey Davies’s grasp, before Conor Hourihane completed the comeback with a fine strike into the top corner in the third minute of injury time.
The travelling Rams faithful were counting their lucky stars at the Mornflake Stadium as their side narrowly avoided a chastening early elimination, but Warne’s men have been irrepressible since, scoring seven goals in back-to-back wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Under-21s and Barnsley.
After crushing the former 4-1 in the EFL Trophy, Derby put three unanswered goals past Barnsley in Saturday’s League One affair as James Collins bagged a brace either side of Craig Forsyth’s effort, drawing the seventh-placed Rams level on point with the Tykes in the process.
That convincing success also marked a fourth victory in a row for Derby at their Pride Park fortress, where they are unbeaten in eight straight matches since August’s loss to Oxford United, and they are on a five-game FA Cup home winning streak against sides from a lower division.
© Reuters
Out to spoil the Pride Park party are a Crewe Alexandra side who are all too familiar with FA Cup first-round replay eliminations, having been knocked out in such circumstances during the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17 campaigns before also suffering a second-round exit to Blackburn Rovers after two matches in 2017-18.
Since then, the League Two outfit have only fallen at the first hurdle in two of their last five FA Cup campaigns, but there was a discernible sense of dejection around the Mornflake Stadium during their opening encounter with Derby, having led by two goals until the 89th minute of that four-goal thriller.

However, Lee Bell’s side were the beneficiaries of late drama during the weekend’s League Two action, as in the eighth minute of second-half injury time against Notts County, Baker-Richardson stepped up to the penalty spot and converted his spot kick to propel the Railwaymen to a nervy 1-0 win.
Crewe Alexandra now have four wins to show from their last five matches in League Two, with their most recent success allowing them to leapfrog Notts County into fourth place in the table, while a record of just one loss from six games on the road also sets the Railwaymen up well for a stopover at Pride Park.
On a pessimistic note, Crewe have not won an FA Cup replay against a fellow EFL side since the 2000-01 campaign, dumping Cardiff City out of the tournament that year, and their last visit to Pride Park ended in a 5-1 humbling in 2006, coincidentally the same scoreline when Derby hosted the Railwaymen in a 1985 FA Cup first-round contest.

Derby County FA Cup form:

Derby County form (all competitions):

Crewe Alexandra FA Cup form:

Crewe Alexandra form (all competitions):

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Team News
© Reuters
No fewer than four Derby players will be turning out for their countries during the international break, including Northern Irish duo Conor Washington and Darren Robinson, who have been called up to the senior team and Under-21s respectively.
Sierra Leone’s Tyrese Fornah and Namibia’s Ryan Nyambe are also set to be unavailable for the Rams, who lost Mendez-Laing to injury in the 52nd minute of the weekend’s win over Barnsley, although it is unclear how severe the attacker’s problem is.
Jake Rooney (ACL), Liam Thompson (hamstring), Joe Ward (heel), Elliot Embleton (hamstring) and Tyreece John-Jules (thigh) are also missing for the hosts, leaving Mendez-Laing particularly short of cover out wide if he is not passed fit for the match.
As for Crewe, a trio of youth internationals will not be at Bell’s disposal this week, as Connor O’Riordan (Republic of Ireland Under-21s), Matus Holicek (Slovakia Under-19s) and Max Woodcock (Scotland Under-18s) prepare to don their countries’ colours.
Bell will only need to worry about filling the O’Riordan-shaped void in the middle of his defence, though, and 19-year-old Lewis Billington should be assigned to that task at Pride Park.
Jack Powell (knee), Zac Williams (ankle), Owen Lunt (back), Joel Tabiner (ankle) and Chris Long (thigh) are among the visitors’ injured troupe, but Charlie Finney and Shilow Tracey were both available against Notts County after overcoming their own concerns.
Derby County possible starting lineup:Wildsmith; Wilson, Nelson, Cashin, Forsyth; Hourihane, Smith; Barkhuizen, Sibley, Mendez-Laing; Collins
Crewe Alexandra possible starting lineup:Davies; Offord, Demetriou, Billington; Cooney, White, Thomas, Adebisi; Tracey, Baker-Richardson, Nevitt

We say: Derby County 2-0 Crewe Alexandra
From staring down the barrel of defeat to a straightforward path into the second round of the FA Cup, Derby County ought to use home advantage and their recent goalscoring exploits to their advantage on Tuesday.
Crewe’s League Two record offers the Railwaymen some hope of a successful evening, but Bell’s side will surely be made to pay for their late collapse in the opening fixture as Derby set up a second-round battle with Bristol Rovers.For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Saturday’s Transfer Talk Update: Joao Palhinha, Javi Guerra, Ryan Gravenberch

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Sports Mole rounds up the latest confirmed transfer news and speculation from across the footballing world.
The January transfer window is almost here and clubs around the UK and Europe are lining up moves as they look to take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen.
Saturday morning’s headlines:...Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Manchester United and Liverpool reportedly enter the race to sign Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha, who is also attracting interest from Arsenal. Read more.

Chelsea are reportedly willing to do whatever it takes to secure the services of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen. Read more.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp plays down speculation suggesting the club will look to sign a new centre-back to replace the injured Joel Matip. Read more.

Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is reportedly in advanced talks with Colorado Rapids over a deal to return to Major League Soccer. Read more.

Premier League duo Chelsea and West Ham United reportedly receive a boost in their pursuit of Lyon’s 20-year-old attacker Rayan Cherki. Read more.

Valencia are allegedly willing to sell midfielder Javi Guerra for a fee in the region of £34.2m amid interest from Manchester United. Read more.

Pep Guardiola apologises to Kalvin Phillips for not selecting him in the Manchester City team this season, but the Citizens boss admits that he “struggles to see” the midfielder in his plans. Read more.

Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who has been heavily linked with Manchester United, will reportedly sign a new deal in Turin. Read more.

Sporting director Matt Hobbs reveals that defender Jonny will not train with the first team until February at the earliest after a training-ground incident last week. Read more.

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund meet to discuss a possible swap deal involving Jadon Sancho and Donyell Malen, according to a report. Read more.

RB Leipzig head coach Marco Rose plays down claims that Timo Werner has been given the green light to leave the club during the January transfer window. Read more.

Real Madrid are reportedly keeping a close eye on the uncertain contract situation of Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies, whose deal expires in 2025. Read more.

Barcelona reportedly rekindle their interest in Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and are considering offering Raphinha in exchange for the Englishman. Read more.

Ferran Torres allegedly tells Xavi that he is prepared to remain at Barcelona for at least the remainder of the season. Read more.

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