Derby v QPR
Friday 31st March, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 1


Gary Rowett claimed he "learned an awful lot" from his first match in charge of Derby as County drew 2-2 against East Midland rivals Nottingham Forest at the City Ground before the international break.

Rowett - the Rams fifth boss in 13 months - saw Derby produce a strong second-half show to recover from a goal down to lead 2-1 before leaking a stoppage-time equaliser. The club's new boss has talked of tempo and energy as key areas he's looking to focus on for Friday.

The hosts are still eyeing an unlikely crack at the play-offs but County will need to snap a poor run of results (W1-D4-L5) if they're to close the nine-point gap on the top-six.Darren Bent is back in contention and Bradley Johnson is also expected to be fit for the Rams.


QPR barely broke sweat when swatting rock-bottom Rotherham aside 5-1 in their last outing and Ian Holloway's Hoops are now the Championship's form side - the visitors have taken 16 points from a possible 21 - no other side in the division has collected more points over the past seven matches.

However, the Rs have claimed four of their last five victories at Loftus Road but the visitors have also collected W3-D2-L2 on their travels since New Year's Eve and start the night trailing their hosts by only three points.

Midfielder Massimo Luongo picked up a knock on international duty with Australia and won't be involved but winger Pawel Wszolek is expected to be fit despite struggling with illness this week with Holloway making minimal changes to his starting XI.

Match Odds

Derby have been chalked up as 2.02 favourites to pocket maximum points here and the Rams are unbeaten in their past three encounters with Rangers at Pride Park (W2-D1-L0). In fact, the Londoners have fired blanks in four of their most recent six league contests with the Rams.

Rowett inherits a side that have been beaten just once in 15 home games (W8-D6-L1) while only promotion-chasing Newcastle, Brighton and Leeds have shipped fewer goals in the Championship this season.

Nevertheless, the 4.40 does standout for an away success. Eleven of QPR's 15 league losses arrived by a one-goal margin, suggesting they're rarely outclassed and the 16-match expected goals ratings rank the Hoops inside the top-10 - Derby are way down to 18th.

Rather than back the away win, I'll play it safer and select Draw or Away Win in the Double Chance market at 1.98. I'm a keen admirer of Gary Rowett and the time spent on the training ground during the international break should give the hosts a boost.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Derby's fixtures in 2017 have tended to be a feast or famine for goals-backers - 8/14 (57%) have featured Over 2.5 Goals winners while five (36%) have concluded with no more than a solitary strike being scored.

Only two Championship grounds have seen fewer goals being scored than Pride Park's 2.11 average but that figure has risen significantly over recent months with the Rams past six matches here averaging 3.83 goals per-game.

Friday night's clash could follow recent trends with QPR heavily involved in goal-filled games of late. The Rs have seen seven of their past eight outings break the Over 2.5 Goals barrier with 12 of their past 15 also seeing Both Teams To Score hunters paid out, making Over 2.5 Goals a value bet at 2.20.

Recommended Bets

Back Draw Or Away Double Chance @ 1.98
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.20

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