Doncaster Rovers: Charge of the Rams built on strong defence

Derby's Will Hughes should return after illness.
Derby's Will Hughes should return after illness.
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Rovers may be heading to the iPro Stadium worrying about the Championship’s best attacking side but Derby are more than just hotshots.

The Rams have netted ten more goals than their nearest rivals in the Championship.

But it is Derby’s recent record at the other end of the pitch that has coach Paul Simpson crowing.

During their run of six consecutive wins, Steve McClaren’s side have conceded just three goals

And former winger Simpson is delighted. “I know this sounds odd coming from me who, as a player, was solely intent on getting and creating goals, but the biggest thing for me is the goals against column,” he said.

“We have managed to tidy up the goals against column a little bit.

“We were delighted for the whole team that they got another clean sheet in the win at Charlton last weekend.

“I know goalkeepers and the back four get the credit but that is a bit unfair on the likes of John Eustace and the midfielders and also Chris Martin, who does a great job for us as that first man in defending set pieces.”

The recent good run has seen Derby claim the second best goal difference tally in the division.

On the scoring front, Simpson is pleased to see goals coming from all areas of the squad.

He said: “You need goals from all over the team.

“I was delighted the other week when Richard Keogh got himself a goal.

“Craig Bryson is getting goals for us, Jamie Ward is chipping in with his share, Johnny Russell will score goals when he gets a regular run of games and Chris Martin has been excellent.

“We need to keep them all firing, all getting goals.

“I would like the full-backs to start chipping in but maybe that’s me being a bit greedy.”

Highly-rated midfielder Will Hughes is likely to be back for Derby following a sickness bug.