League Cup Preview: Derby v Chelsea

Petr Cech anticipates a tough test of Chelsea's trophy-winning credentials when they visit Derby County in the League Cup quarter-finals.

The west London club have become a major domestic and European force in recent years, and this competition represents their first chance to secure silverware in 2014-15, with the final scheduled for March 1.

Jose Mourinho's current crop are widely touted as favourites to lift the Premier League crown come May, but if they are to think of glory in the League Cup showpiece at Wembley prior to that, they must overcome Championship high-flyers Derby at Pride Park on Tuesday.

Steve McLaren - who won this competition when in charge of Middlesbrough in 2004 - has guided Derby to the second tier's upper reaches, and they will be keen to bounce back after being knocked off top spot in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at fellow promotion contenders Boro.

Chelsea, meanwhile, maintained their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Hull City, and goalkeeper Cech - who replaced the injured Thibaut Courtois for that game - sees Tuesday's encounter as another step towards what he hopes will be further glory.

"We only judge the team when the season is finished and you can see how many trophies the team has in hand," he told the club's official website. "It is difficult to say which Chelsea side in history was the best because a lot of them won trophies.

"This team has huge potential, it has been doing really well this season, we are top of the league and have been doing some brilliant games but we are empty-handed at the moment, and I don't like to compare the teams until the season is finished.

"It is already a quarter-final and we would obviously like to go all the way, but we know what is waiting for us at Derby is a very tough game. 

"They are flying and although they lost this weekend in a big game in the Championship, they are still near the top of their league.

"They are a very good side and last season when we played there in the FA Cup [a 2-0 win for Chelsea] it was a very difficult game as well. We know what to expect and we know we will have to play well to go through."

McLaren, meanwhile, was disappointed with the way his side performed at his old club Boro on Saturday, and is looking for a response among his players in midweek.

"We did not react well from that [first] goal and we need to dust ourselves down and go again on Tuesday. What a great game it is to do it in," he told Derby's official website.

The hosts will be without Ryan Shotton through suspension after he was sent off at the Riverside Stadium, while Chelsea have Cesc Fabregas back in contention after serving a one-match ban against Hull.

Cech has played in both of Chelsea's two previous League Cup games so far this season, and is likely to retain his place even if Courtois shrugs off his minor muscular injury.