Former Manchester United and Everton forward Wayne Rooney has taken over as permanent manager at Derby County. The news broke on Friday 15th January that Rooney, who had been in temporary charge since the departure of Phillip Cocu in November.
“We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Wayne Rooney as our new manager.
“Our recent upturn in results under Wayne was married together with some positive performances, notably the 2-0 home win over Swansea City and the 4-0 victory at Birmingham City.
“During that nine-game run we also dramatically improved their defensive record and registered five clean sheets in the process, while in the attacking third we became more effective and ruthless too.
“Those foundations have provided a platform for the club to build on in the second half of the season under Wayne’s guidance.”
Rooney will be helped by Assistant Manager Liam Rosenior, Shay Given will move into a first team coach role with Justin Walker remaining as first team delvopment coach. Acadamey goal-keeping coach Jason Pearcey will move to first team goal-keeping coach. The club also comfired that former England Manager Steve McClaren will remain as Techichal director and advisor to the board.
Rooney enjoyed a stellar playing career with Everton (twice), Manchester United, DC United before sigining for Derby. Rooney picked up five Premier League titles, three EFL cups an FA Cup as well as a Uefa Champions League and Europra League. He is Manachester United’s all time top scorer with 253 goals. Rooney is also Englands leading goalscorer having scored 53 for his counrty.
“I’ve had a great career and enjoyed every minute, Of course, I will miss it but I’ve been very fortunate to play for some massive teams. Playing for Everton was a boyhood dream of mine and then to go and play for 13 years at United was the highlight. To stay at the biggest club in the world for so long and win so many trophies is something I’ll always appreciate.”
Rooney said that the potenial of the club was what attracted hime to Derby,
“When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County Football Club. The Stadium, Training Ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive.
“Despite other offers I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me.
“To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour and I can promise everyone involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club.”
Rooney first game will be a home game against Rotherham United on Saturday 16th of January.
Changes at the top as Norwich go top, Reading drop to sixth and Bournemouth go second. Three wins from five moves Stoke City to seventh and one point of a play-off place. A third defeat in a row means Derby stay bottom, Wycombe remain in relegation places after draw with Brentford.
Canaries Top of the Table
Norwich picked a vital away win beating Middlesbrough by a single goal. Both teams had chances in the first half but Middlesbrough had a golden opportunity to take the lead early in the second half.
Some good work down the left allowed Marcus Tavernier to get the ball into the Norwich box. The Canneries were unable to properly clear the ball and Tavernier was brought down by Ben Gibson, resulting in a penalty. Tavernier took the kick and put the ball into the net but as he took the kick he lost his footing and was judged to have touched the ball twice. The referee disallowed the goal and Norwich were let away with one.
The let off sparked Norwich into life, Timo Pukki hitting a shot in the side netting. Tavernier’s poor luck continued as he blazed a shot over the bar from six yard box. Norwich got their goal after 72 minutes. Max Aarons playing a 1-2 with Emiliano Buendia, was then brought down in the box. Pukki had no problems with his penalty rolling the ball into the corner.
“Middlesbrough is a tough place to go, they were on an eight-game unbeaten run and conceding just one goal in their last seven games so, that shows the size of the task today.”
Cherries Second half come-back
It was a fourth straight defeat for Reading as they drop to sixth place. After taking a two goal lead into halftime they were blown away by Bournemouth’s second half fight back.
It started so well for Reading Alfa Semedo winning the Royals a penalty after 4 minutes, when he was brought down by Begovic. Despite Begovic going the right way he was unable to stop Lucas Joao’s spot kick. It was 2-0 before the break as Oviemuno Ejaria’s through ball found Sone Aluko who guided the ball past Begovic.
The comeback started on 56 minutes as Dominic Solanke turned in from Lloyd Kelly’s cross. David Brooks’ pass cut through Readings defence and found Arnaut Danjuma who squeezed the ball in from a tight angle. Bournemouth took the lead after Brooks laid the ball off to Lewis Cook. Cook took a touch then sent a screamer of a shot into the top corner. The home side made sure of the points late on. Reading keeper Rafael giving the ball to Solanake, and after a scramble between them Solanke put the ball into the empty net.
“We got ourselves in a difficult position at half-time and started slowly and I had to say one or two words and make a few tactical changes.
“We needed to come out and prove that this was a top of the table clash and, in the second half, we performed a lot better.
“That sort of result gives us confidence and the second half is our benchmark. We need to take it into the next run of games.”
Bristol City Pile pressure on Derby
Elsewhere, it is now three straight defeats for Derby after Bristol City win 1-0 at Ashton Gate.
Famara Diedhiou got the only goal of the game after 78 minutes. Antoine Semenyo breaking into the box from the right cuts the ball back to Diedhiou who placed his left footed shot into the bottom corner past David Marshall.
The win comes after Bristol City had a Covid-19 outbreak at their training ground. Dean Holden told BBC:
“To play like that after only one and a half day’s training this week was an unbelievable effort by the players.
“I can’t stress too much how well they did in the circumstances. During an international break you normally have two weeks to build up to the next game.”
Swansea City, meanwhile, beat Rotherham by a single goal. Matt Grimes netting his first of the season for the Swans. Grimes hit a shot from outside the box and going through a crowd of players the ball found the net. The win is Swansea’s third in a row at home as they look to reach the play-offs again this season.
Preston got their first home win of the season by beating Sheffield Wednesday by a goal to nil. The Owls had to play most of the game with 10 men after Josh Windass was given a straight red for a high foot. Tom Barkhuizen got Preston’s goal three minutes after the restart. Smashing home a volley from 16 yards out after Wednesday keeper Keiran Westwoods punch clear. With a first win at home Preston could mount a charge up the table if they can replicate their good away form.
Barnsley, however, left it late with two goals in the last five minutes to beat Forest 2-0. Barnsley twice struck the crossbar in the first half but had their keeper to thank for the goalless half time score. Jack Walton making three fine saves to keep the score at 0-0.
He made another in the second half as Forest looked to break the deadlock. The opening goal came from Callum Styles shotting from the edge of the box into the top corner. Cauley Woodrow got the second after good work from the right from Callum Brittain. Barnsley have four wins from five and now sit 13th.
Seven Goal Thriller
A goal feast at Stoke as they beat Huddersfield 4-3. The visitors took the lead as Carel Eiting volley from the edge of the box went in. The host’s levelled as Tyrese Campbell latched on to a loose ball in the box and smashed the ball into the net. Campbell gave Stoke the lead two minutes later, played into the box he rolled the ball under the keeper 2-1. Isaac Mbenza squared things up again at 2-2, played in by Eiting he rolled the ball under the Stoke keeper. Stoke pressed high as Huddersfield tried to play out form the back. Campbell getting the ball in the box and his shot going in off Richard Stearman.
Sam Clucas made it four for Stoke, with some good footwork he found a pocket of space and shot into the top corner. Huddersfield made it 4-3, Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr heading in from Mbenza’s free kick.
Cardiff came from behind to draw with Millwall as Neil Harris made his first return to his former club. Matt Smith gave Millwall the lead on 35 minutes with his first of the season. Kieffer Moore scored his fourth Cardiff goal on 79 minutes to get a point for the visitors.
QPR went behind early to a Ben Wilmot goal after 3 minutes for Watford. Llias Chair made sure the points were shared with his third goal of the season. The draw drops Watford to fith. Five draws for QPR this season as they sit in 18th place.
Luke Berry gave Luton the lead on 69 minutes at Kenilworth Road. Sam Gallagher leveled for Blackburn three minutes later giving both sides a point. Both sides are unbeaten in three games. Luton are 10th while Blackburn are 14th.
Coventry City v Birmingham and Wycombe v Brentford both ended goalless. Coventry remain a point above Wycombe down the bottom. Brentford have now drawn four of their last five.
Norwich now lead the table and Reading having lost four in a row have dropped to sixth. The table will keep changing with only eight points from 12th to 1st.
Another round of Championships fixtures sees the top two lose, Derby drop to bottom and another five goal thriller for Watford. Blackburn, Forest and Rotherham all win at home, while Bournemouth pick up a good away win.
League Leaders Lose Again
Reading started brightly at the Madejski Andrew Yiadom cross from the right found Alfa Semedo, who headed straight at Angus Gunn in the stoke goal. Gunn was called into action again tipping another Semedo header over the bar.
It was Stoke who took the lead when Reading failed to clear and Tyrese Campbell slotted into the corner with a well taken shot. Stoke doubled their lead in the 35th minute. A poor ball from Reading keeper Rafael was headed back towards goal by Tom Smith, flicked on by Campbell into the box where Steven Fletcher tucked home. Fletcher beat The Royal’s offside trap for his fourth goal of the season.
Stoke almost had a third, Tyrese Campbell hitting the post with a curling right footed shot which had Rafael beaten. They did, however, get their third in added time. Lewis Gibson failed his attempted back pass, and left Jacob Brown with a one on one with the keeper. Brown rounded Rafael and put the ball into the empty net despite Gibson’s attempt to get back and clear.
Reading manager Veljko Paunovic said:
“This is a serious league in which mistakes – in both boxes – can kill you. There is a mix of immaturity in some moments and a mix of fatigue, accumulation of games and injuries that we are going through”.
Stoke manager Michael O’Neill told BBC Radio Stoke:
“We had to dig in at the start of the game but once we got ahead we looked capable of scoring again”.
Reading remain top despite three defeats in a row but their lead is down to one point. Stoke are now in eighth after three wins in five.
Swans Drop from Second
Swansea had the best chance of the first half at Carrow Road with Andre Ayew heading against the post from a Swansea corner. Jamal Lowe saw his shot pushed out for a corner from Tim Krul. Teems Pukki, meanwhile, found space in the visitors box but was tackled well by Conner Roberts before he could get a shot off.
Krul was once again in fine form again saving again from Lowe in the second half. Norwich then found the winning goal with six minutes to goal with Marco Stiepermann. Bali Mumba’s ball into the box was touched back to Stiepermann by Buendia for the German to fire home.
Another Five Goal Thriller
A second half thriller at Vicarage Road saw Watford beat Coventry 3-2.
The Hornets took the lead on 53 minutes, Andre Grey with the goal. A low ball across the City box ricocheted off a Coventry defender before hitting Grey to go in.
Coventry then scored two in two minutes to take the lead. The first from Gustavo Hamer, heading back towards goal after a Watford clearance, his head caught out Ben Foster going over the keeper to dip inside the crossbar. Just a minute later the Sky Blues lead Maxime Biamou heading a long ball onto Tyler Walker who stuck the ball first time low into the corner.
The lead, however, lasted just two minutes as William powered his header into the goal from James Garner’s corner.
Watford’s winner came in the 83rd minute, Ismaila Sarr scoring from the spot after Callum O’Hare handled in the box.
Rams Drop To Bottom
Derby are now bottom of the league after losing 2-0 by Barnsley at Pride Park. Derby had chances, Tom Lawrence forcing two saves from Jack Walton. It was disaster for Waltons opposite number as David Marshall’s loose pass went to Conor Chaplin who found the net.
Victor Adeboyejo confirmed the win for Barnsley with a well taken curling shot from outside the box. Barnsley’s victory ensured they bounced back from their defeat in Cardiff and make it three wins from four.
Derby first team coach Liam Rosenior said:
“This is a huge football club and we are not doing it justice. There’s no way the club should be in the position it’s in and I have to hold my hands up to that as well”.
Bristol Take Spoils From Severnside Derby
It was a smash and grab for Bristol City as they left Cardiff with three points in Friday’s Severnside derby.
Starting out quickly Bristol found themselves with an extra man on Cardiff’s left. Antoine Semenyo played a low ball into the Cardiff six yard box which was met by Chris Martin. Martin cut across Sean Morrison to tap home from close range.
With an early lead, Bristol were happy to let Cardiff control the game without ever really threatening Daniel Bentley’s goal. Back to back wins sees the Robins move into fifth place. Cardiff are 15th with just one win in five.
Bournemouth took a two nil first half lead at St Andrews with Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks scoring. Brooks got his second five minutes after the break to make it three. Scott Hogan pulled a goal back for the Blues but they suffer a second straight home defeat. Bournemouth’s win now sees them fourth, just two points from leaders Reading.
After three without a win, Blackburn ended QPR’s winning run with a 3-1 win. Brereton scored on 50 minutes for Rovers before a penalty from Lyndon Dykes levelled the game.
Adam Armstrong put Rovers back into the lead on 73 minutes, before scoring his second in added time.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray praised Armstrong telling BBC Radio Lancashire:
“Adam has matured and his explosive pace allows you to play both ways and his dynamic movement has a devastating effect”.
Lyle Taylor’s brace helped Forest to a second straight home win as they beat Wycombe.
Taylor’s first came from a header at the far post from Cyrus Christie’s cross. Wycombe created some chances but were unable to really test the Forest keeper. A quick counter attack allowed Taylor to score his second and give Forest three points.
Elsewhere, Preston lost on the road for the first time this season. Rotherham lost their last two heading into this fixture but led after Richard Wood smashed home from close range. Ryan Ledson equalised for Preston after 80 minutes, his shot from the edge of the box flying through a crowd of players to nesle in the bottom corner. But it was Rotherham who took the points, Matt Crooks finishing after a good run from Matthew Olosunde.
Middlesbrough are proving hard to beat as they drew 0-0 at Brentford.
Neil Warnock’s side sit in seventh place after their sixth draw of the season.
Brentford had the lion’s share of possession but were unable to break Boro.
It was one way traffic at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday produced seven attempts on goal to Millwall’s none.
Millwall, however, will be the happier side leaving with a point. George Moncur put Luton ahead against Huddersfield after 21 minutes. After 60 minutes Carel Eiting levelled for Huddersfield with a towering header into the Luton top corner. The point sees Huddersfield up to 13th while Luton drop to 10th.
Reading still lead the league heading into the international break, but Watford are breathing down their necks now in second. Norwich, Bournemouth, Bristol City and Swansea make up the play-off places. With just six points from sixth to 18th, nothing can be taken for granted this season.
Derby will host Cardiff City on Wednesday night at Pride Park. The Rams (yet to gain a point at home) face a Cardiff team who have seven of their nine points on the road. County are without a goal in their three home games this season, while Cardiff are yet to concede on their travels.
Last seasons meeting at Pride park saw a 1-1 draw with Scott Malone scoring for the hosts before a Robert Glatzel penalty. In 2018, Derby won a rearranged fixture by three goals to one The original fixture was postponed on the morning of the game for snow in and around the stadium. Then Cardiff manager Neil Warnock called the decision a “disgrace”. Warnock’s view was that Derby (who had several injuries at the time) welcomed the postponement.
Home v Away
Cardiff have two wins and draw away from home and are yet to concede. The Bluebirds are, however, another side who have struggled at home but seem to be thriving on their travels.
Derby sit bottom of the league on home form without a single goal or point.
Liam Rosenior spoke to the press ahead of the game said:
“It goes to show you how important the supporters are”.
Neil Harris, meanwhile, commented on the strange home/away records this season:
“I don’t expect that to change without fans. In some ways its better to be away from home”.
Derby will be without Wayne Rooney once again due to him self-isolating. Rosenior did confirm that he would re-join the squad this Friday ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Bournemouth. Nathan Byrne has been training and is available for the match against Cardiff.
Lee Tomlin could return to the bench for the Bluebirds, however, Neil Harris is keen not to rush him saying:
“Tommo has been on the training pitch, that’s a real positive for us. What we can’t do is push Tommo too soon and he falls of the edge of a cliff”.
Harris is also waiting to see if full backs Joe Bennett and Jordi Osei-Tutu will be available.
When asked about Derby gaining their first point at home Rosenior said:
“It would mean we have done our jobs.
“We have got a big game against a good side, but if we perform they will know they are in for a good game”.
Speaking about what danger Cardiff pose, Rosenior added:
“They’ve got really good wide players with quality as well”.
“It’ll be a completely different game to Boro the other evening”. “They’ve got good players and important players back in the group. They’ve got attacking intent. We have to handle it completely differently, you have to have great shape, good pressing triggers and organisation. When we have the ball we have to hurt them”.
For Derby Tom Lawrence could be the key to unlocking Cardiff’s away defence. It was Lawrence’s neat footwork that set up the ruled out second goal against Forest. He picked up a 7.6 rating on whoscored.com for his performance. Lawrence spent time at Cardiff in 15/16 on loan.
Harry Wilson has been involved in Cardiff’s attacking massively since signing on loan. He got his first goal against former team Bournemouth and will be looking to get another in this game. Wilson has a passing % of 77.6 for City and Cardiff will likely attack though him.
Prediction; Derby 0 v 1 Cardiff
Without having any success at home this season Derby will be under pressure to turn this around. The longer the game goes on the more likely of Cardiff catching out their hosts.
Games are staring to come along quickly as the Championship rolls on. Readings good form continues as they lead the table. Bristol City remain second but there are just four points between them and 14th placed Huddersfield.
East Midlands Derby
Friday night saw the East Midlands derby between Nottingham Forest and Derby County. It was the 108th meeting of the long time rivals.
The two side were up for this game, Lyle Taylor shot forcing a good save from David Marshall. Marshall’s opposite number Brice Samba was also tested in the first half. Graeme Shinnies curling shot met by the diving hand of the Forest Keeper.
It was Derby who scored first after 30 minutes. Martyn Waghorn’s with a free kick the self-isolating Wayne Rooney would be proud to claim. Waghorn lifted the ball over wall and it clipped the inside of the bar to go in the net.
Derby thought they had won it when some clever footwork from Tom Lawrence allowed him to slide a ball into Jozwiak who found the net. Jozwiak wheeled off in celebration but the assistant’s flag was up. Waghorn in an offside position was deemed to be interfering with play.
Forest Manager Chris Hughton told BBC Radio Nottingham:
“I wasn’t too happy with the first half performance. I thought we needed to be better on the ball and our movement needed to be better against a team who were happy to defend in a really good shape”.
After seeing his side second goal ruled out Phillip Cocu told BBC Radio Derby:
“I don’t see any offside. The goalkeeper reaches for the corner where the shot goes, so the view is not blocked. The frustration is quite big here”.
Reading Go Five Clear
Championships leaders Reading won their sixth game of season clinically beating Rotherham 3-0. Reading took the lead towards the end of the first half though Yakou Meite.
The striker doubled the home side lead on 74 minutes, with an overhead kick. From a corner he control the ball with his chest before performing an overhead kick into the top corner of the net. A good win was finished in stoppage time with a Lucas Joao penalty.
Reading manager Veljko Paunovicsaid:
“What we saw in our team was the consistency of getting the job done, doing your job for the team. You also have to be patient, have a strong mentality and not get frustrated if our game plan is not working. And don’t ever give up”.
Rotherham drop to 18th place and manager Paul Warne told BBC Radio Sheffield:
“We were away from home against top of the league and had lots of possession in the first half and we were the only side that played on the front foot. We passed the ball really well without creating enough clear cut chances and obviously for them to score the first time they were in our box was a massive sucker punch”.
Mepham Saves a Point
Late drama as Chris Mepham’s 94th minute goal saved a point for Bournemouth. Watford had lead since the 12 minute from Stipe Perrica’s first goal for the club.
Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly was lucky to only see a yellow card for his poor challenge after just two minutes. Lunging in late on Ismaila Sarr catching the Watford player above the knee.
Watford’s goal came after Sarr’s ball across the box from the right was met a sliding Perrica who simply directed the ball into the net. Ismaila Sarr had the chance to make it too but his shot was stopped by a strong right hand from Asmir Begovic.
Begovic kept his in it again saving from Quina before quickly pushing the ball away from Pedro. Bournemouth pressed for an equaliser but found resilient Watford defencing and a in form Ben Forster.
Josh king saw his late header turned over the bar by Forster. However Bournemouth got their reward from the corner. Forster punched the ball away but the return ball in the box was turned in by Mepham.
The draw means Watford stay in 3rd and Bournemouth 4th.
There were away wins For Blackburn (4-0 v Coventry), Luton (1-0 v Sheffield Wednesday) and Preston (2-1 v Huddersfield) on Saturday.
Coventry were reduced to 10 men after 14 minutes with Michael Rose receiving a straight red for a push in the box. Adam Armstrong scored from the spot. Armstrong got a second after 49 minutes getting on the end of Brereton’s though ball. Harvey Elliott made it three on 62 minutes assisted again from Brereton. Rovers wrapped up a fine display with a fourth on 88 minutes from Sam Gallagher.
Sheffield Wednesday remain bottom after a 1-0 home defeat to Luton. Wednesday’s Joost van Aken saw red for a reckless high challenge. The hatters took advantage of the extra man to get the win with Pelly Ruddock scoring on 74 minutes.
While they can’t win at home Preston are still unbeaten on the road. Frazier Campbell’s 8th minute goal gave Huddersfield a half time lead. A curling effort from Alan Browne levelled the game on 51 minutes. Just two minutes later Browne found the net again. This time looping a soft punch from the keeper back into the goal. Naby Sarr got a red card for pulling down Riis Jakobsen.
Stoke up to 8th
Stoke stormed into a 3-0 lead after an hour. A free head for Steven Fletcher after nine minutes, was followed by a James McClean low shot into the near post. On the hour mark Tyrese Campbell made it three cutting inside to the edge of the box and curling a shot into the far corner. Brentford pulled two back thanks to sub Marcus Forss but Stoke held on to take their unbeaten run to seven games.
Norwich got their third straight league win after beating pointless Wycombe 2-1 at Carrow Road. Timo Pukki gave Norwich the lead early on. Scot Kashket got the goal that got Wycombe level after some poor Norwich defending. Wycombe may have thought they had their first championship point but there was late drama. Mario Vrancic 91st minute free kick went straight into the top corner with the Wycombe wall seamingly rooted to the floor. Adam Idah was shown a red card for appearing to push Joe Jacobson to the floor.
Middlesbrough left Cardiff with a point on Neil Warnock’s first visit to Cardiff City Stadium since leaving the Bluebirds. It was a classic Warnock display from Boro’ who set out early to slow the game and frustrate Cardiff. The visitors took the lead with George Saville’s header lopped in the Cardiff goal. Cardiff took the game to Boro in the second half but could not find the final touch. Their hard work did get them level with Sheyi Ojo second goal since signing from Liverpool.
Jamal Lowe smashed in on 51 minutes to give Swansea the lead at Ashton Gate. It was his second goal for Swansea. Putting it in off his left foot turning towards goal. Bristol City equalised from a Nahki Wells penalty. Conner Roberts judged to have brought down Semenyo Antoine just inside the area. A soft penalty but dispatched down the middle with power from Wells. The result sees Bristol City remain in second and Swansea in 6th.
At The Den two goals in two minutes at the end of the first half saw Millwall and Barnsley share the points. Alex Mowatt stunning volley from the edge of the area gave Barnsley the lead. Just a minute later Jake Cooper rose above everyone else to head home for Millwall.
A goalless draw at The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium as QPR met Birmingham City. Scott Hogan did find the net for City but was ruled offside. QPR are 16th while Brimingham are 17th.
The championship rolls on to Tuesday and Wednesday again this week with Blackburn hosting leaders Reading and Bournemouth v Bristol City as the stand out games.