Can Derby County's Michael Jacobs be the perfect partner?
WINGER Michael Jacobs has given Nigel Clough food for thought by forming a new-look strike force with Conor Sammon.
Jacobs started up front with Sammon in Tuesday's convincing 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
He scored the opening goal, had a hand in Derby's third and was named man of the match.
Nigel Clough is keen to take another look at the pairing and he is likely to stick with it for today's FA Cup third round tie against Tranmere Rovers at Pride Park (3pm).
Derby started the season with Jamie Ward as Sammon's strike partner before Ward tore a hamstring in September and spent three months out.
He returned to action briefly at Charlton last week only for his hamstring to tighten.
Theo Robinson and Nathan Tyson have been paired with Sammon on occasions and Derby have also used a 4-5-1 formation at times.
But Jacobs' lively display against Middlesbrough has given Clough another option.
"Initially, we started with Conor and Jamie Ward," said Clough. "With Michael up there it's the closest combination we can get to that.
"It is interesting to see Michael up there.
"The way he takes the ball is great. He likes running with the ball and he is not restricted by a touchline like he is when he plays out wide."
Jacobs has made 12 starts since he signed from Northampton Town in the summer and the 21-year-old has scored in each of the last two home games.
Sammon was impressed with Jacobs' performance in the Middlesbrough game.
"I thought he did brilliantly," said Sammon.
"He has had to be patient for his opportunity and he has taken it.
"Playing out wide is his natural position but as a striker he attacks defenders and has got a really good strike on him, as we saw with his goals against Hull and Middlesbrough."