DERBY County will go into tomorrow’s home against Doncaster Rovers buoyed by a 1-0 win against fancied Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Wednesday night.
Rovers boss Sean O’Driscoll was in the crowd as the Rams posted their third successive league win to cement their best start to a season since 1948.
The Rams have rarely looked like mounting a serious challenge to return to the Premier League since being relegated from the top flight after just one one season in the last three years.
But their capture Jason Shackell from Barnsley during the summer, along with that of such as Craig Bryson, Frank Fielding, Kevin Kilbane, Nathan Tyson and Jamie Ward, has helped to underline their intentions this season.
Shackell, who spent a year on loan at the Keepmoat Stadium prior to moving to Oakwell, is one of three former Doncaster players on Derby’s books - though the only one expected to start tomorrow.
Paul Green, along with skipper Shaun Barker and Tyson, has yet to feature for injury-hit Derby, whilst veteran defender Gareth Roberts has had to settle for a place on the bench.
Rovers’ summer signing Giles Barnes will need no introduction to home fans having spent two years at the club prior to moving on to West Bromwich Albion. “I’ve got a lot of happy memories of the place and I’m looking forward to going back there,” said Barnes.
Rovers make the relatively short trip down the M1 propping up the Championship table following three defeats.
“Pride Park has been a happy hunting ground for us in recent years and hopefully that will continue tomorrow because it would be nice to get off the mark from a confidence point of view,” said Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly.
O’Kelly felt that Rovers deserved better than a 1-0 home defeat by Nottingham Forest in midweek, but concedes that there is room for improvement.
“We need to work on things in the last third of the pitch,” he said. “We need to co-ordinate our passing and our movement and get people in the right areas and get the players to understand why they are in the right areas.
“We had two young lads who combined well down the right against Nottingham Forest but they can do better.”