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G.M's Match Preview: Rams Must React & Tame Tykes
Saturday, 4th Mar 2017 08:28 by George Martin

Derby aim to end a series of frustrating performances and results, as they entertain Barnsley at Pride Park this afternoon.

Against Blackburn on Tuesday, The Rams again failed to beat lower opposition and it is truly difficult to pin point what has gone wrong in the past three weeks. Some fans say it is the players, some say formation, some say McClaren. It is likely to be a combination of all three, as there is such a fine line in such tight games.

Derby's inability to create clear cut chances and thus score is a major contributing factor. Derby have had 15, 13 and 18 shot in the past three games, with not too many on target and zero goals.

Personally, although Bent does score goals, his style of play is not suite need to the system and that is why no one else seems to score when he doesn’t. He can't hold the ball up, he does not bring any one into play, he does not win a free kick on the half way line when under pressure to relieve the pressure. The list goes on.

It requires different personnel and a different way of thinking to get out of the run of bad form. Huddersfield, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton and even Barnsley, teams all above Derby do not have an out an out goal scorer, a top goal scorer, and when Derby have been good, Martin has led the line, but others have contributed as well.

The other question mark against some of the players in the squad is hunger and desire. Fans do not question the effort, but with the likes of Shackell, Johnson, Bent, Vydra and Anya all in the squad, is there the real hunger to want to achieve and better themselves, when they have already been there and done that in their careers.

It's possible McClaren may start with Vydra behind Nugent as he may see attack being the best form of defence. Hughes should start in the middle with either Johnson or De Sart partnering him. Ince will play and one wing and the extra pace of Anya may come in on the other, for the yet again ineffective Russell. Mason Bennett may also be recalled to the squad.

Baird will deputise at centre back for the inured Keogh and Shackell, Pearce will captain the side and Bent is fit after injury but may well have to settle for a place on the bench.

Barnsley have been very good this season. They started the campaign well, but then had a significant dip. They stood with their manager, sold a few players and are still doing very well. Most teams would not cope with selling their three or four 'star' players. Great man management!

They are well organised and compact, but also play good football and have pace on the break. Their desire and hugger, coupled with skill and ability, makes them more than a match for every team in the division.

Barnsley have no new injuries or suspensions. Kent is like to start on the wing and will need to be watched closely. Hammil will look to make and impact and Armstrong will lead the line well.

Match Prediction:

Derby's display at Oakwell under Pearson at the start of the season was up there with their worst. The Rams will be hoping to make amends.

Derby's recent form against The Reds has been good and The Rams usually have a good home record against the League One Play Off and Johnston's Paint Trophy winners. However, Barnsley are to be appreciated and respected.

McClaren is hoping for a reaction from the players in the next two home games, after recent frustrating results. Derby fans agree and are hoping for the same.

Derby to win 2-1 with Vydra to score.

Last Time They Met:

Barnsley 2 v 0 Derby

Oakwell - 13th August 2016

Classic Clash:

Derby 1 v 0 Barnsley

Pride Park - 30th August 1997

Manager / Player Match Previews:


Photo: Action Images

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