Promotion rivals’ boss: Derby County are a Premier League club

Brentford manager Mark Warburton has shown his respect for Derby County ahead of their Championship promotion crunch match on Saturday.

Brentford manager Mark Warburton spoke highly of Derby County on the club's official website ahead of the promotion crunch match on Saturday. 

The 52-year-old remarked the Rams are 'without doubt a Premier League club' and praised the strength of their squad ahead of the match, but insisted that his side fear no one and go into the game with everyone 100% fit. 

''In my mind Derby County are a Premier League set-up,'' claimed Warburton. ''You look at their stadium, their training ground, their structure. I think, for me, they're without doubt a Premier League club.

''They were desperately unlucky last year. I was at that game, it was perhaps the most one sided game I have ever seen, but what happened, happened. 

''They've come back strong this year but you can have these blips. You can these four, five games where you're not at your best or you have a couple of injuries.

''They lost Chris Martin, which was well-documented, but they've got a very strong squad.''

Although the Rams have seen Chris Martin return to first-team action, they will still go into Saturday's game six first-team players light of a full squad.

John Eustace, Omar Mascarell, George Thorne and Jake Buxton have all effectively been ruled out for the season.

Ryan Shotton has failed to shake off the concussion that ruled him out of Monday's game, and Will Hughes will serve his first of a two-match suspension. 

The game, while not make or break for either team, will give the winner a considerable boost in their quest to play Premier League football next season.  

For Derby, a win is an absolute must if they are to climb back into the top two before the end of the season, while a win for Brentford would be huge in their hunt for a play-off spot as it would take them two points above Derby with four games remaining.

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