Preview: Derby County vs. Queens Park Rangers
Pride Park Stadium
Derby are back on home soil and after a much needed win after gaining no points in the two games which followed the opening day success against Leeds United. The opposition come in the form of early table-toppers QPR, who have scored nine and conceded none so far in the league this season. They will provide a stern test, but as was proven last season against the likes of Forest, West Brom, and Newcastle, The Rams often rise to the big occasion when it matters. In order to beat of some early-season pessimism, a win would be extremely handy.
Rams manager Nigel Clough has stated that he doubts new talent will be brought in before the Pride Park clash: 'There is a chance of getting somebody in before Saturday but everybody seems to be waiting for something to happen. I think the last few days of the window is probably when it will all kick off.'
He also provided reasonably positive news about perennial crock Chris Porter: 'Chris Porter will do his specific work in the early part of the week, with a view to joining in full training near the end of the week to see if he is OK for Saturday,' said Clough. 'Tomasz (Cywka) was a bit off it when he came on at Coventry, which is understandable. It was a gamble just to put him on the bench.'
Rs manager Neil Warnock thinks Adel Taraabt will be excellent away from Loftus Road this season, but remembers what happened the last time the two sides met, and Robbie Savage was given the job of man-marking the young livewire: 'I actually think Adel will blossom more away from home than at home, as daft as it sounds, because teams have to have a go at us.
'There will be periods in the season when he hits a brick wall because there are times when the creative players don't have a good game - but away games may be easier.
'Savage marked him out of the game down here last season so it will be a good test for him but I think we've got enough armoury in our locker to let Adel go for a walk and let somebody else take over.'
The Rams Team News:
Rob Hulse looks set to miss out on the QPR game with his Achilles problem. Chris Porter may line up in attack but it looks possible that Dean Moxey, makeshift striker and goalscorer against Coventry, will start on his own up-front. Russell Anderson is still not fit but should come back after the international break which follows the match on Saturday. Tomasz Cywka may be able to start despite his fractured cheekbone. He is currently wearing a protective mask during games.
Player to watch: Shaun Barker
Last season's player of the season Barker has struggled so far this season as a result of missing pre-season. He will be hoping for better fortunes against the division's early pace-setters.
The Rs Team News:
QPR club captain Martin Rowlands ill play for the QPR reserve side but will not play against The Rams after a ten month injury lay-off. The Rs have no real new injury worries.
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
The winger/midfielder from Morocco has started the season in sensational form with two goals in two league games and a handful of assists already to his name. He scored a great free-kick when the sides last met at Pride Park in a 4-2 win for The Hoops.
Match Facts & Stats
Leeds United (a) 2-1
Crewe Alexandra (a) 0-1
Cardiff City (h) 1-2
Coventry City (a) 1-2
Queens Park Rangers:
Barnsley (h) 4-0
Port Vale (h) 1-3
Sheffield United (a) 3-0
Scunthorpe United (h) 2-0
Derby County vs. Sheffield United, Sat 11th September, 13:00pm, The Championship