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G.M's Match Preview: Rowett Will Get First Rams Win Against Resurgent Rangers
Friday, 31st Mar 2017 06:00 by George Martin

New Derby manager Gary Rowett hosts QPR in his home game as boss in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Rowett will be hoping for a good start to the game as the team took way too long to get going against Notts Forest two weeks ago.

This was mainly down to team selection with Russell barely getting a touch of the ball behind Nugent, Johnson playing too deep and Vydra struggling to track back to help Olsson down the left.

Luckily, Derby were not two or even three nil down and could not have got much worse in the second half. The obvious and logical swap of Russell and Vydra was made at half time and the players also responded to Rowett's request to play further up the pitch. Again, a request that was basic and obvious to any of the 2k Derby fans watching the game.

Derby then dominated and took a deserved lead. They should have gone on a finished the game, but this team cannot do that, especially when they let in so many injury time goals.

This bad habit has cost The Rams a total of 10 points this season. Those points would have put them very much in the play-off mix. Why Johnny Russell did not run the ball to the corner in the 92nd minute, only he will know. I was in total disbelief.

Derby have no new injury concerns but will be without long term absentees Shackell, Blackman, Forsyth and Thorne. Darren Bent is back in the squad after illness and Johnson has recovered from a knock.

Rowett is likely to start with the team, formation and positions which started the second half at Notts Forest. Baird at right back, Johnson and Bryson in the middle, with Vydra playing behind Nugent. Ince will start on the right and Russell is likely to start on the left.

Hughes, Butterfield, Anya and Bent are good attacking options off the bench if things are not going Derby's way, or if Derby need a change of formation or tactics in the second half.

After an unsteady start, Ian Holloway is starting to make things tick and seems to be getting his ideas across. This has resulted in them being unbeaten in 5 out of the last 7 games which included a very respectable 0-0 against Leeds United.

Midfielder Luongo is a doubt however, after picking up an injury while on international duty with Australia. He will face a late fitness test, but is most likely to be out. Rangers will also assess the fitness of Pawel Wszolek as the Polish winger has been struggling with illness, but are hopeful he will be available.

Defender Jack Robinson is fit after a hamstring problem and winger Kazenga LuaLua is also progressing well following an ankle injury, but may not be risked. He may be fit enough to make the bench. On the whole, Holloway has pretty much a fully fit squad to choose from.

Match Prediction:

QPR will be well organised, hardworking and hard to break down. Derby will need to be patient and keep it very tight at the back. They will experience periods of time without the ball, but players and fans must not get frustrated.

QPR come to Pride Park in some good form and confidence after scoring some good goals.

However, hopefully may have a little more quality going forward and scoring options in Ince, Bryson, Vyrda and Nugent.

Derby to win a tight game 2-1 with Vydra to score.

Last Time They Met:

QPR 0 v 1 Derby

Loftus Road — 14th December 2016

Classic Clash:

Derby 4 v 2 QPR

FA Cup 5th Round

The Baseball Ground - 24th February 1973

Pre - Match Previews:


Photo: Action Images

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