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Interviews

Opposition View: Derby County

Jake Barker provides the insight to Alicia Povey.

15 February 2021

After an impressive turnaround win on Saturday against Huddersfield, all eyes will be on the Chairboys to see whether they can take that momentum into Tuesday night’s game against Derby County.

Ahead of the match, Alicia Povey spoke to Jake Barker of Not Another Derby Podcast about what to expect from the Rams.

The Rams had a bit of a turbulent start to the Championship season, but their recent form has looked strong. Talk us through the last few games.
Since Wayne Rooney's appointment as manager, we've looked a different outfit. We defended fairly well under Phillip Cocu, but going forward we were lifeless. Rooney has changed our mentality and philosophy and you can see the difference. Barring the results against Rotherham, which were both anomalies in their own way, we've looked much stronger recently, even after the loss of Krystian Bielik to injury.

The last time the two teams met in November, we shared the points in a 1-1 draw. What did you make of that match?
It was certainly an interesting one! That was part of a period for us where we kept dropping points in the final minutes which was incredibly frustrating for everyone involved with the club. I thought we played arguably one of our best performances of the season at that point, but lost our focus and dropped crucial points. I thought you grew into the game as it went on, and the goal looked inevitable. If we replayed that game from the 70th minute now I think we probably would have held on for a win.

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Since that meeting, the club confirmed Wayne Rooney as the new manager. What has his impact been on getting some more points on the board for the Rams?
As mentioned before, the changes Rooney and the backroom team have made have been immense. The work rate, desire and quality across the team seems to have improved massively. We don't score that many, but we don't concede many either and that's been the key to our successes in Rooney's 15 games in charge.

Derby County brought in five players on loan during the January window. What do you make of those signings? Could they feature against Wycombe?
Yes, we had quite an exciting deadline day with five players coming in! To be fair, they were all needed. Teden Mengi provides cover across the back four, whilst George Edmundson will be great competition for Matt Clarke and Andre Wisdom at centre half. As Bielik was confirmed to have an ACL injury on the day, Beni Baningime is a great option as the "destroyer" in the centre of midfield, whilst Scottish title winner Patrick Roberts and Lee Gregory were brought in to bolster the forward line.

Unless off the bench, I find it unlikely that Mengi, Edmundson or Baningime will feature, whilst Patrick Roberts is currently sidelined through injury. Lee Gregory scored on his first start against Middlesbrough this weekend, and he's probably the only one that will start.

Who are the other players to watch in the Derby side?
We've got quite a few players who are worth noting actually. Lee Buchanan at left back is an England U21 international and has shone this season, Jason Knight in central midfield has a fantastic engine, while Kamil Jozwiak has a massive amount of talent in the wide areas, and of course I can't forget our talisman Colin Kazim-Richards who's in imperious form.

On the flip-side, which Wycombe players do you think could cause the most issues for the Rams?
Joe Jacobson is a player I've always admired, and I think his set pieces could cause us problems. In the return fixture, Adebayo Akinfenwa dominated our defence when he came on, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him make some sort of impact again.

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Who would make up your Derby starting-eleven on Tuesday night?
I would be surprised if we made any changes from Saturday, so: Marshall, Byrne, Wisdom, Clarke, Buchanan, Shinnie, Knight, Jozwiak, Waghorn, Gregory and Kazim-Richards.

What’s your score prediction?
Whenever I predict us to win we always lose! So I'm going to go with a 4-0 Wycombe win!

Thank you to Jake for speaking to us and giving us his insight. We’re certainly hoping that his score prediction is right too! You can catch all the action from Tuesday night’s 7:45 kick-off against Derby County on iFollow.

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