Andy Murray has won Wimbledon, a royal baby has arrived and a heatwave has hit the country – all in the space of time since Derby County’s last competitive match in May. Fear not, the new football season is almost upon us! The Rams’ season begins tomorrow with a Pride Park encounter with Blackburn Rovers at 4pm.
Blackburn are unbeaten in the previous five meetings between the clubs. You have to go all the way back to 2001 to find Derby’s last victory over Rovers.
After missing out on a couple of friendlies due to groin issues, Paul Coutts is poised for action and is available for selection. Central-defenders Shaun Barker and Mark O’Brien remain out.
What team and formation should emerge from the Pride Park tunnel tomorrow? Share your views and read more by clicking here.
Rovers won’t be able to call on new signing and one-time Ram DJ Campbell as he’s sidelined with ankle ligament problems, which were suffered during a pre-season friendly.
The last campaign ended with Derby finishing 10th and with Blackburn finishing 17th. The North West team had a total of four managers last season, while Nigel Clough remains the league’s longest-serving manager.
Last season was Rovers’ first season back in the second tier. Derby struggled against the Lancashire side, only managing to take a single point in the matches between the two clubs.
The first meeting was a league fixture at Pride Park, a wonder goal from Jordan Rhodes gave the away side a 1-0 lead but Theo Robinson’s late goal rescued a point for the home side. The FA Cup threw the sides together for a fourth round meeting at Derby, who were destroyed 3-0. A day to forget for the Rams, who played awful. The return fixture in the Championship also turned out to be a bitter one for Derby at Ewood Park, Rovers won 2-0.
Former Terrier Jordan Rhodes is certainly a man to guard carefully for the Rams. Last season he made the step up from League One after Rovers splashed out £8 million on him following relegation from the top flight. Rhodes proved to be a good addition, 27 goals in 43 league matches is a very healthy return – wouldn’t you expect that for £8 million though?
Ex-Derby loanee DJ Campbell and central-defender Matthew Kilgallon are the main signings for the club this summer. Alan Judge, Tommy Spurr, Corry Evans, Todd Kane, Tom Cairney, Chris Taylor, Simon Eastwood and Alex Marrow have also arrived.
Goalkeeper Jake Kean is a one-time Ram, he started his career with Derby as a youngster but didn’t represent the club at senior level before moving north to Ewood Park.
Morten Gamst Pederson remains on Blackburn’s books. The Norwegian joined the Lancashire side back in 2004 and is still a pivotal player. Defender Scott Dann is a man that will intend to take little nonsense with the Derby attack, he’s beginning his first season as club captain at Blackburn.
Rovers have plenty of players that should be more than capable of performing well in the Championship but they’ve perhaps been disturbed by off-field headlines involving the club’s owners. It’ll be interesting to see if Gary Boywer gets the opportunity to steady the Ewood Park ship. The video below about the decline of the club is worth watching.
Make your prediction below.
The final edition of Countdown To Kick-Off is tomorrow, which is matchday!