With Derby County making the trip to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol City on Saturday afternoon in The Championship, we take a look at which players would make a combined starting line-up for the two teams.
Goalkeeper: Scott Carson
The 32-year-old certainly is not one of the best goalies in the division, but he is an experienced shot stopper that can be relied on. The fact he has made four appearances for England in his career shows that he has enough quality to perform at this level. He has made a solid start to this season with a number of clean sheets, but one area he does still need to improve on is his distribution.
Right-Back: Bailey Wright
The 25-year-old Australian defender is traditionally a centre-back but can be utilised in the right-back position if needed. He has been outstanding for the Robins since joining the club for an undisclosed fee from Preston North End in January. He still has plenty of time to improve his game even further and has the potential to play at a top level in the future.
Centre-Back: Aden Flint
The centre-back was in demand this summer as he was linked with a host of Championship rivals such as Birmingham City. However, the 28-year-old decided to remain at Ashton Gate and could be an influential player for Lee Johnson’s side this season. He is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the division for his contribution at both ends of the pitch. He scored five goals last season and is already on track to better that tally in the current campaign.
Centre-Back: Curtis Davies
The 32-year-old was lured to Pride Park this summer by Gary Rowett following a five-year spell at Hull City. He is another player with a wealth of experience and is already proving to be a valued member of Derby’s squad this season. He offers the sort of leadership that the Rams have perhaps been missing in recent years and it will be interesting to see whether his presence makes a difference.
Left-Back: Marcus Olsson
The 29-year-old full-back joined from Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee in January 2016 and has proved to be a very astute signing. He became an instant fan’s favourite as he scored the winning goal against local rivals Nottingham Forest in March 2016 and has continued to be a success since. He is arguably one of the best attacking full-backs in the division.
Defensive Midfielder: Tom Huddlestone
Similarly to Davies, the 30-year-old midfielder also arrived at Derby this summer following a lengthy spell with Hull City. The duo had been a key part of the spine of Hull’s team and will now be looking to have a similar impact at Pride Park. However, Huddlestone will have an extra motive considering he came through the youth academy at Derby and subsequently has a deep affinity for the club. He is certainly a top player at this level and will play a key role this season if Rowett’s side are to challenge for a place in the top flight.
Central Midfielder: Josh Brownhill
The 21-year-old made 27 appearances for Johnson’s side last season but looks like he could have a much bigger impact in this campaign. He has made a superb start and is really dominating games in the midfield for the Robins. He has always had the potential to be a top player at this level, and it looks like he might start to show why this season. It will be interesting to see whether he can keep up his current form for the rest of the season.
Central Midfielder: Jamie Paterson
The 25-year-old is traditionally a wide player but can be utilised anywhere in midfield and can still be effective. He was given his chance to shine in The Championship by Nottingham Forest but joined the Robins in 2016 for more first-team opportunities. Although he has not started every game so far this season, he is still a very talented player and has a habit of finding the back of the net in home games at Ashton Gate.
Attacking Midfielder: Tom Lawrence
Derby’s marquee signing this summer was, without doubt, the 23-year-old midfielder as he joined from Premier League side Leicester City for a hefty fee. He made a name for himself last season at Ipswich Town as he scored nine goals in 34 league appearances, with most of them being stunning strikes. He will be looking to continue his development under the management of Rowett this season.
Striker: Bobby Reid
There is no doubt that the 24-year-old’s goalscoring form so far this season has come as a huge surprise. The striker only managed to score three goals in 30 appearances last season but has already scored five goals in just seven appearances so far in the current campaign. His latest goal came in the 3-3 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek, and he will be confident of adding to his tally against the Rams on Saturday.
Striker: Matej Vydra
The 25-year-old striker has seen his career stutter in recent years but looks set to put that right this season. He joined the club last summer for a fee of around £8 million from Premier League side Watford but did not make the sort of impact he would have been hoping for. He has scored three goals already this season which is not a bad return considering he only scored five in the entirety of the last campaign.