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Leeds United at Derby County preview: Return of the Wally

McClaren returns to Pride Park for unfinished business, but in-form Whites may rain on his Parade.

New Derby County Manager in his former post during Euro2008 Qualifier - England v Croatia
The Wally with his Brolly
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The big news ahead of this game is the surprise re-appointment of Steve McClaren as manager at Derby County. McClaren left in bitter circumstances at the end of the 2014/2015 season after the Rams missed out on a play off spot.

McClaren’s men needed just one point from their final league game of the season vs Reading, but they went down 3-0, suggesting McClaren got the tactics all wrong. His team’s dramatic loss of form towards the end of that season was attributed to him being more focused on the vacant Newcastle United managerial post than his own role at Derby County, resulting him in being sacked.

A similar tactical error occurred back in 2007 whilst McClaren was the England Manager. England needed just one point from their final game against Croatia to qualify for the 2008 Euros. However, history notes that England lost and didn’t reach the finals. McClaren cut a hapless figure that rainy night at Wembley, famously being dubbed the “Wally with the Brolly” as he looked on from the touchline, helpless, under his brolly. Careful Steve, there’s a high chance of rain forecast for 3pm Saturday.

McClaren re-takes the reigns at Pride Park with Rams languishing in 20th place and just 2 points above the relegation zone. As Leeds fans can testify, it’s a scary position to be in but can be turned around with the right man in charge.

Our man, Garry Monk, has been forced to sit out this game after receiving a 1 game touchline ban for merely pointing out the failures of the officials at the Bristol game last month, but he has Leeds in 11th at the October international break. With Pep Clotet being given leave after the birth of his child, first team coach James Beattie will be in the dug out Saturday for the Whites.

Leeds will be cursing the international break that came at the wrong time, breaking momentum and bringing fresh injury worries to the squad. Stuart Dallas is a doubt for this one after straining a calf, but Pontus Jansson and Chris Wood should return unscathed from their international duties.

Head-to-Head

From 54 previous meetings at Derby, the home side have won 24 times, Leeds 17 with the remaining 13 drawn.

Form

From the last 5 League games Leeds stats are healthy looking: W4 L1 D0, whilst the Rams have W1 L2 and D2.

Leeds Player to Watch

The Through It All Together Player of the Month for September, Pontus Jansson, is the player I’ll be watching. I loved his most recent display v Barnsley and should he keep his form a permanent deal must be on the cards.

Derby Player to Watch

Scottish international Ickechi Anya is a versatile, attacking midfielder who can be a handful for defenders. He will be looking to impress his “new” boss and add to his goal tally.

WHAT

Derby County vs. Leeds United

EFL Championship fixture

WHERE

iPro Stadium, Derby

LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings

WHEN

Saturday, October 15, 2016

7:00am PT / 10:00am ET / 3:00pm BT

WHO

Leeds United’s predicted XI

Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, Sacko, Phillips, Hernandez, O’Kane, Antonsson, Wood

Derby County’s predicted XI

Carson, Christie, Keogh, Pearce, Marcus, Hughes, Johnson, Butterfield, Ince, Vydra, Anya

ODDS

Leeds 19/5

Draw 12/5

Derby 4/5

PREDICTION

I’m not sure about the accuracy of those SkyBet odds, but the Rams were underperforming, and the arrival of a new manager always has a short term effect... but I’m still going for a Leeds win. 2-1 to United.