Rovers are back on the road for their next fixture against Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship.
Steve McClaren’s side have done well of late, especially at home, but proving people wrong is something that Paul Dickov’s men are good at so it’s another chance to shine at the newly named iPro Stadium.
Back in 2011 when we made the trip down the M1 to Derby the squad had been decimated by injuries but after two consecutive draws against Norwich City and Watford, things were looking positive for Sean O Driscoll’s charges going into the game.
As the game got underway however, Nigel Clough’s side looked to be a side that belied the stories that they were lacking confidence and amidst a slump which had seen them take just one victory in their last ten games.
Jamie Ward flashed an effort just wide of the mark as the hosts tried to get in front early and dominated proceedings, with just under ten minutes to the break Rovers had ‘keeper Gary Woods to thank for keeping the scores level from Ben Davies. Shaun Barker then saw a header go just over the crossbar from a Davies cross with five minutes to go to the interval.
It was a miss that they would rue as Rovers seized their first opportunity of the game in some style, Gary Woods’ long kick downfield was taken under control by Billy Sharp who raced clear of the defense and then cooly slotted the ball into the bottom corner. It was a hammer blow for the home side just moments before half time.
After the restart Rovers picked up where they left off and it was that man Sharp who was on the mark again, this time John Oster was the creator as he wriggled clear of his marker to create space to cross and find Sharp who nodded home from close range.
Rovers were now clearly in the ascendency and the home supporters showed their disapproval when Clough replaced striker Theo Robinson. Ben Davies had a low effort blocked by Woods before Sharp went within a foot of scoring his hat-trick, Frank Moussa setting the striker free but his effort was wide of the target.
Joseph Mills did extend Rovers’ lead with just under 20 minutes left on the clock, bursting forward before smashing a shot at goal, Derby ‘keeper Frank Fielding got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
The hosts did pull a goal back in the final minute of the game courtesy of Stephen Davies’ close range effort but it was scant consolation for the home side who were well beaten.
Statistics v Derby
Expect goals this weekend as there have been at least three goals scored between the two sides in each of the last five games they have met in the League.
Rovers have only failed to score twice in the last ten meetings with Derby County.
Rovers have also won three of the last five visits to the home of the Rams.
There has only been one previous game played in December between the sides in Derby, history favours Rovers as the game ended in 2009 with a two goal victory for the visitors thanks to goals from Billy Sharp and James Coppinger.
Sky Bet Odds
The Football League Sponsors Sky Bet have Derby County as favourites in this Championship clash at a price of 2/5.
Derby County 2/5
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