Full Derby debut imminent for January arrival?

Should Spanish centre-half Raúl Albentosa make his full debut against Birmingham City?

Fans of Derby County have told local newspaper the Derby Telegraph that they want to see Raúl Albentosa handed his first league start in the upcoming fixture against Birmingham City.

The 26-year-old Spanish central defender signed for the Rams from La Liga outfit SD Eibar in January but has only 45 minutes of action under his belt in Rams colours against Chesterfield in the FA Cup 4th round.

The Rams have shipped four goals without reply in their last two games and have kept one clean sheet in eight games in all competitions. Derby boss Steve McClaren told the official Derby County website that they were "punished at the back" in the 2-0 defeat to Brighton and may make changes against a resurgent Birmingham City team have won their last two fixtures.

Albentosa made 17 appearances for Eibar in La Liga this season, scoring twice and collecting five yellow cards. Five of those games finished with Eibar collecting a clean sheet and since Albentosa has left, Eibar have failed to win in seven, losing their last six games in succession.

McClaren will know that if Derby are to keep up their promotion charge then they will need to start recording victories again and will see what is a tough away game for Birmingham City as a chance to pick up three points.

With strikers Chris Martin and Darren Bent both being out of contention through injury, solidity at the back is going to be required - particularly against a forward like Clayton Donaldson who will continually use his strength and power against centre backs. Whether McClaren goes for his Spanish option remains to be seen.

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