After the international break Queens Park Rangers take on Derby County at Pride Park, live on Sky Sports 1 from 7PM.
The R’s head into tonight’s fixture in the best form of the season so far, the last 7 games have seen Rangers win 5, draw 1 and lose 1. We are undefeated in the last four, winning 3 and drawing 1, meaning we are currently one of the inform teams in the Championship.
(Source: Sky Sports)
However, in Derby County’s last 10 league games they have only won once, this downturn in form led to Steve McLaren being sacked for a second time by Derby. They began 2017 in 7th place, just a point off the playoffs. Their 1-0 away win in the reverse fixture at Loftus Road in December saw them complete a run of 7 straight wins. However, they now sit in 10th place, 9 points adrift of top six.
Gary Rowett has come in and talked the talked. He has challenged his squad, coming out in the media and insisting that Derby, 9 points off the playoffs, are still in the race. He has also defended his squad from the critics, insisting that his squad are a ‘united group’.
Therefore, we should expect a different Derby side tonight, one revitalised by the new gaffer, and I am sure the atmosphere will have been given a big lift by Rowett’s appointment. The international break came at a good time for Rowett, the former Birmingham manager’s first came in charge was a 2-2 draw away to rivals Nottingham Forest, giving him 2 weeks to work with most of his squad in the built up to tonight’s game.
Given QPR’s biggest win last time out, 5-1 against Rotherham, the international break very much came at the wrong time. However, Holloway gave the players 4 days off after the win and he has come out and said the squad are rested but raring to go. Given our recent form Holloway yesterday said in his presser that he has challenged the squad to see if they can win all of the last 8 games of the season!
Tonight’s game kicks off a tough week for the R’s, after tonight we travel to the inform team in the the Championship being Aston Villa, over recent years games at Villa Park have always been tough and full of goals. We then take on promotion hopefuls Brighton next Friday. The use of the squad will obviously be important and to be fair to Holloway the squad does look strong and has good depth now so it shouldn’t be a problem for players to come in and out of the starting XI.
A win tonight could see us go level on points with Derby who currently have 53 to their name. In what is a tough week to come let’s hope we can start positively and only climb the table from here on out. Below is the team I would start with
Come on you R’s!