Derby can regain some pride against QPR
Rowett fancied to get Rams going on home debut
Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm Friday
With only honour to play for it is perhaps apt that Derby versus QPR is taking place at Pride Park but this is still a relatively big deal for Rams boss Gary Rowett in his home debut and punters should count on County to get maximum points.
Derby have had a bitterly disappointing season with Rowett their third manager of a campaign that sees them sitting tenth in the Sky Bet Championship.
County have won only one of their last ten games and the 3-0 loss at Brighton saw Steve McClaren's reign come to an end but the squad is packed full of talent and Rowett looks the right man to knit it together.
The prices for this game suggest there would not be a great deal between Derby and QPR if the match was played at a neutral venue which is probably fair enough on recent form, although County have the greater potential to kick on.
Maybe that won't come until next season, but Rowett will want to set the standard early and he seemed reasonably pleased with the opening 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest before the international break.
Matej Vydra and Dave Nugent were on target for Derby at the City Ground, highlighting the quality in the side, while Will Hughes, who captained England's Under-21 side against Denmark on Monday, was only on the bench.
Hughes may once again have to sit on the sidelines with Rowett seemingly happy with the Craig Bryson-Bradley Johnson axis in his 4-2-3-1 formation.
McClaren wanted Derby to be aesthetically pleasing but Rowett is more interested in results judging by the way he built from the back during successful spells at Burton and Birmingham.
Derby's last financial results, released 12 months ago with the new ones due soon, showed a £5.4m increase in wages to £21.8m so Rowett is working with a much more talented squad than in his previous jobs and on all known evidence he should get Derby challenging over the next year or so.
QPR are going along quite nicely with five victories in their last seven matches, yet those triumphs over Birmingham (18th), Wigan (23rd), Cardiff (12th), Barnsley (11th) and Rotherham (24th) came against teams below Derby in the table.
Certainly Ian Holloway has found a style of play that suits his side with tall Matt Smith an awkward threat and there is pace around him to offer Rangers options on the counter.
However, influential midfielder Massimo Luongo has been ruled out and it could be a case of Rangers heading to Pride Park at the wrong time.
1pt Evs BoyleSports
George Thorne, Craig Forsyth, Nick Blackman and Jason Shackell are out.
Australian Massimo Luongo won't play after arriving late from World Cup qualifying. Kazenga LuaLua is nearing a return to fitness, as is Jack Robinson. Jordan Cousins remains sidelined.
Both teams have scored in six of Derby's last seven home matches.