|Sunderland 1 v 1 Derby County|
Friday, 4th August 2017 Kick-off 19:45
G.M's Match Preview: Rams Will Roll Rotherham To End Season On A High
Sunday, 7th May 2017 07:16 by George Martin
Derby travel to an already relegated Rotherham today, for the last game of the season, hoping to end a disappointing campaign on a high.
Gary Rowett is the third manager of the season, with Derby having started the season with Nigel Pearson, then changing back to Steve McClaren early on, only to sack him and replace him with another former DCFC player.
Just writing that feels stupid and nearly sounds made up, but it is not, it’s been the reality of being a Derby fan this season.
Hopefully the likes of Weimann, Camara, Shackell, Blackman and one or two others will be moved on to freshen things up within the squad and more importantly change the mind set.
Derby could also move on Russell, Pearce, Keogh or even Bryson to generate funds and bring Rowett's own players in. The other option is also to 'cash in' on Hughes or Ince and buy two or three players. In addition, although Bent has signed a one year contract it does not mean he can't be sold or loaned out.
Although fans will talk of his goal record, if Derby are to get promoted they need to win more games away from home and perform, in particular, better against top six sides away from home. Derby have won two of their last twelve away games. Not good enough.
It needs a change of personnel and a change of mentality and mind set. No offence Darren Bent, but the way Nugent leads the line on his own up front is far superior.
Bent, Hughes and Olsson look likely to miss out on the final game. Bent has a hamstring strain, Hughes a bad back and Olsson has been nursing an ankle injury for some time.
Baird is likely to revert to left back and Christie to right back, although Rowett has the option of doing a straight swap with Anya going in at left back. Johnson, Bryson and Butterfield are likely to be the central three as they look to get forward and assist lone striker Nugent.
Danny Ward may be back for Rotherham who have won one of their last nineteen games and sit on 22 points at the bottom of the championship. If fit enough he is likely to start up front, but he may well find himself at a different club in the summer as he seems good enough to continue playing in the championship.
Smallwood will look to attack from midfield for The Millers and Adeyemi is a threat going forward, so the Derby defence will have to keep a watchful eye on him.
Both teams will look to end the season on a high. Rotherham will look to give their home fans something to cheer amid the doom and gloom of relegation, whereas Derby will look to give supporters hope for next season.
However, unless there are changes within the squad and fresh minds and bodies brought in, then I fear this will be a false hope. Too many players are not consistently good enough.
The last game of the season can throw up one or two surprises, but Derby should have enough with their starting eleven and depth on the bench when needed, to see off a battling Rotherham side.
Derby to win 3-1 and Nugent to bag.
Have a good summer and thank you for reading.
See you in August!
Last Time They Met:
Derby 3 v 0 Rotherham
Pride Park – 19th Nov 2016
Classic Clash Video:
Derby 2 v 1 Rotherham
The Baseball Ground – 19th May 1986
Gaffer / Player Pre-Match Interviews:
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Photo: Action Images
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