Derby County face Queens Park Rangers at Pride Park as Nigel Clough officially takes charge of his first game as The Ram`s manager. Last week`s postponement at Ninian Park meant Clough had a week longer to assess his squad and he has already cut the numbers by terminating Andrejs Pereplotkins season long loan as he looks to trim the playing staff. Lewis Price has been recalled from his loan spell at Milton Keynes Dons and rumours are he is coming back as Roy Carroll could be set for a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
A 2-0 victory at Loftus Road back in September was the first away win in the league and came amongst the start of a good run for then manager Paul Jewell`s side, goals from Albrechtsen and Villa gave Derby victory that day. Nigel Clough will have some interesting decisions to make in terms of his starting line-up with the Manchester United victory throwing up some excellent performances from players left out under the previous regime in the shape of Andy Todd and Mile Sterjovski and the return to the squad of Liam Dickinson and Robbie Savage.
Queens Park Rangers currently sit ninth in the table having drawn five of the last seven games and being taken to extra-time in their midweek FA Cup reply with Burnley before going down 2-1 to a last minute winner. Rangers have recently confirmed a permanent deal for Lee Cook and a deal to bring in Liam Miller until the end of the season from Sunderland as Paolo Sousa looks to shake up his squad in the transfer window. Expectations were high at the start of the season that Rangers would be pushing for promotion and, despite some inconsistent results, they are by no means out of the play-off picture as they are only five points off sixth place.
‘We’ve got five games in 14 days and it could be argued that those games will go a long way to defining our season.
‘They are two big cup games and three more important league matches.’
Nigel Clough talks to Radio Derby about the upcoming run of games.
Derby County Team News:
Paul Connolly and Jordan Stewart are suspended for this encounter whilst Nathan Ellington and Claude Davis look set to miss out with hamstring problems.
Player to watch: Nigel Clough
Okay, he`s not playing but the match and Derby line-up will be heavily influenced by his presence and the The Rams faithful will be hoping the new manager syndrome can push them to victory in this one.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Liam Miller goes straight into the squad and Wayne Routledge is set to feature after being ineligible for the FA Cup defeat at Burnley. Lee Cook is available after missing games with illness but Patrick Agyemang is out with a thigh strain.
Player to watch: Dexter Blackstock
Leading scorer with twelve goals this season and has been linked with Premiership clubs leading into the transfer window, spent time at Pride Park earlier in his career in loan.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Watford (H) 1-0 Hulse
Preston North End (A) 0-2
Ipswich Town (H) 0-1
Forest Green (A) 4-3 Hulse, Albrechtsen, Green, Davies
Manchester United (H) 1-0 Commons
Queens Park Rangers
Charlton Athletic (A) 2-2 Cook, Blackstock
Watford (H) 0-0
Burnley (H) 0-0
Coventry City (H) 1-1 Blackstock
Burnley (A) 1-2 AET Di Carmine
An eagerly awaited fixture with the new Clough era being made to wait after the Cardiff postponement. The feel good factor seems to have returned to Pride Park and expect Derby to take this 2-1.
20th Jan v Manchester United (Carling Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg) Old Trafford