Lee Grant explains why Derby are relishing Chelsea cup challenge

Derby County West Stand

Lee Grant says Derby County are looking forward to facing 'the pinnacle of English football' when they take on Chelsea in the Capital One Cup.

The draw for the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup was not particularly kind on Derby County.

For those to have made it to the last eight, thoughts will have started to turn towards Wembley and a shot at major silverware.

The Rams, though, will have to topple the Premier League leaders if they are to move a step closer towards hitting that target.

Chelsea are due to visit the iPro Stadium on Tuesday, with Steve McClaren set to lock managerial horns with Jose Mourinho.

The two sides last met in the Midlands back in January, with the Blues securing a 2-0 success in FA Cup competition.

Goalkeeper Lee Grant is expecting another tough test in midweek, against ‘the pinnacle of English football’, but is also of the opinion that Championship promotion hopefuls Derby are better equipped for the challenge.

He told the club’s official website: “It’s going to be an exciting game. Last season, we were really looking forward to the occasion, but this year, it feels right that we have got Chelsea.

“The lads are looking forward to in different way in the sense that we want to do better than we did last year.

“This is the pinnacle. Not only are they the pinnacle of English football, they are probably going to end up the pinnacle of European football.

“To have the opportunity to pit ourselves against this team, at this stage of their development, is fantastic for us.

“We are at a similar stage in our development where we want to go places and achieve things. It’s a test to see how far we have come since we played them 11 months ago.”

Derby have yet to face top-flight opposition in this season’s League Cup, with Fulham, Reading, Charlton Athletic and Carlisle United seen off so far.

They have also lost two of their last three fixtures in the Championship, failing to score in each of those setbacks.

McClaren’s men have nothing to lose against Chelsea, though, and can afford to take a few risks in the pursuit of what would be a memorable scalp and a huge boost heading into the Christmas period.

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