Derby wary of Fabregas threat

September 21, 2007

Derby manager Billy Davies is preparing his side to face a player he believes is potentially the best midfielder in the world - Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.

The Rams are buoyant after earning their first win of the season on Monday night against Newcastle - a result which saw them move off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League - but Davies insists there are even stiffer challenges around the corner.

He takes his side to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow and Fabregas, in commanding form this season with three league goals and two Champions League strikes to his name already, is the man Davies fears most.

And although he thinks the Spaniard is among the finest players on the planet at present, the Scot concedes that the Gunners have so many possible match-winners they cannot get them all into one team.

He said: 'Fabregas is one of the best, if not the best, midfield player in the world.

'He is a top, top player on great form.

'But they have so many good players. Look at their bench, they have top, top players on the bench. Look at the stand even, they have top quality players sitting in the seats of their stand.'

Regardless of their quality, Davies insists his side must try and repeat the success they enjoyed against Newcastle, where some full-blooded defence and a stunning 30-yard goal from debutant Kenny Miller earned them a deserved win.

'I've said all along that only with time will this team improve and individuals will improve.

'Our first seven games (including Arsenal) were always going to be very difficult matches. We've played sides over the last few weeks who should finish in the top six - the Liverpools, the Newcastles, the Tottenhams.

'But Monday night was much more like it for us.

'You go to do your best and we'll try and get our players playing at their maximum on Saturday. We go down there to compete and to try and carry on from where we left off against another expensive unit in Newcastle.

'We are finding our feet but we know that doesn't guarantee us victories.'

As for Miller, Davies believes he finally has a striker of international class to call on after missing out on a number of other targets during the summer.

'You don't want to play against him because of his energy, his pace and his tremendous goalscoring ability.

'But it's not just Kenny, I look at our whole side and there's quality.'