Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Monday March 12 2007
13th March 2007
Former Rams boss looks to spoil the Party
Former Derby County manager John Gregory returns to Pride Park tonight with his Queens Park Rangers side, hoping to spoil the party and the Rams promotion push.
It`s the Rams third game in eight day`s, but at this time of the season a win is VITAL for Billy Davies side.
Derby must bounce back from Friday nights defeat at Birmingham City, especially with the chasing pack close behind them. It will be great to play on a good surface, after playing on the ploughed field at St Andrews last week. A great comment on the TV, when the presenters said: "It was reported the pitch was like a farmer`s field, and four farmers had called in to complain."
There will be few familiar faces in and out of the Rangers team tonight. Rangers boss Gregory spent one year at the helm of the club and played 103 games for the Rams in the 80`s. This season both Adam Bolder and Lee Camp joined the Loftus Road side but will both be unavailable tonight, Camp is playing against his parent club (Derby) and Bolder is unavailable due to a clause in his transfer.
Another former Rams star in the Rangers side is Spaniard Inigo Idiakez. The free kick specialist has joined the London side on a month`s loan deal from Southampton. The other former Rams player in the side tonight is Dextor Blackstock, who joined on loan from Southampton and scored three goals in his spell at Pride Park.
Last time out the Hoops drew 1-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday, and a 72 minute penalty from Martin Rowlands earned them a point.
The team for the game was: -
GK - Camp, Bignot, Cullip, Bolder, Rowlands, Cook, Stewart, Idiakez (Ainsworth 68), Furlong, Blackstock (Nygaard 60), Mancienne.
Subs Not Used: Royce, Kanyuka, Smith.
Another big crowd is expected at Pride Park tomorrow, with over 24,500 tickets sold for the visit of QPR and it's time to once again get behind Billy Davies's Rams for another VITAL game.
Tickets for Tuesday are now on general sale and available by calling 0870 444 1884, on-line at www.shopdcfc.co.uk' and in person at the Pride Park Stadium ticket office.
Central defender Michael Johnson is the major absentee with his hamstring injury that could rule him out for the rest of the season. Stephen Pearson is also doubtful with an ankle injury.
Paul Boertien is also on the sidelines with his knee problem but there are no other big concerns for the Rams.
The former Manchester United youngster has played well over the past month and gives the Rams drive from the midfield. His eye for goal has also been on show over recent weeks, a couple more tonight wouldn`t go astray.
Goalkeeper Lee Camp is on loan with Rangers until the end of the season from the Rams but is prevented from playing against his parent club.
And midfielder Adam Bolder, who joined on a permanent deal in January, is also ruled out due to a clause in his transfer.
Club captain Marcus Bignot came back on Saturday after two months out with a knee ligament injury. Rangers' attack is likely to be led by Dexter Blackstock, who scored three goals for Derby during a loan spell last season.
We all know what he can do from free kicks from around the penalty area and beyond. Let`s hope he has a night off tomorrow
Last time v QPR at Pride Park
Derby County 1 Queens Park Rangers 2
Ainsworth (29), Gallen (80), Blackstock (84)
There are no columns in the Championship table for 'ifs and buts'.
The most important column is 'points' and Derby need to start collecting some before this increasingly gloomy campaign lurches from bad to worse.
This 2-1 defeat by Queens Park Rangers at Pride Park has left the Rams sitting uncomfortably in 17th place and looking over their shoulders at the relegation places only two points below.
Derby enjoyed most of the possession and chances but could not get the better of a Rangers team, who played with 10 men for almost an hour after striker Paul Furlong was sent off for violent conduct.
Gareth Ainsworth put the visitors ahead when he nipped in unmarked to meet Lloyd Dyer's free kick and head past keeper Kevin Poole from close-range.
Dexter Blackstock, another on loan forward, was introduced for his debut and added some spark to the attack as Derby switched to three at the back. Although he missed a sitter when he headed wide from six-yards and Royce's save from Idiakez brought four consecutive corners as the Rams poured forward.
But Rangers remained a threat on the break, substitute Stefan Moore had a great opportunity to make it two, only to be denied by Poole. His stop should have proved a match-saving moment but Idiakez failed from the penalty spot after Dyer had handled.
The Spaniard checked his run up and Royce guessed the right way to parry the ball to safety.
Rangers doubled their advantage 10 minutes from time. Derby's defensive trio looked bemused as Georges Santos powered forward and fed Kevin Gallen who expertly curled the ball beyond Poole, whose angles could be questioned.
Blackstock's low finish across Royce provided hope of a comeback with six to play and then the youngster set up Idiakez in the six-yard box. He looked certain to score but his finish lacked conviction and Royce not only got across to make the save but also held on to the ball.
Derby County: Poole, Kenna, Thome, M Johnson, J Jackson, Bisgaard, Idiakez, S Johnson, Whittingham, John, Peschisolido
Subs: Thirlwell (for Kenna, 58), Blackstock (for John, 58), Tudgay (for Peschisolido, 81), Doyle, Camp (gk)
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Evatt, Shittu, Dyer, Gallen, Doherty, Santos, Ainsworth, Furlong, Sturridge
Subs: Moore (for Sturridge, 62), Langley (for Doherty, 81), Milanese (for Ainsworth, 90), Shimmin, Donnelly.
Referee: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire)
QPR`s last six games
10/03/07 Sheff Wed H 1-1
03/03/07 Ipswich A 1-2
24/02/07 Plymouth H 1-1
20/02/07 Leeds A 0-0
09/02/07 Southend A 0-5
03/02/07 Burnley H 3-1
Simmo`s Prediction Rangers will be fighting for survival and will give the Rams a tough game. But I`ll go for: - Derby County 3 QPR 1
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Date:Monday March 12 2007
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