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Derby certainly not ‘underdogs’ in McClaren’s first game

The former England manager takes charge at Pride Park for the first time this afternoon against Leeds in the Championship.

Steve McClaren has been a successful coach with Manchester United and England as well as a successful manager in Holland with FC Twente, but he seems to be better known for his well known incident with an umbrella as England manager and a comical Dutch accent when talking about then opponents Arsenal in the Champions League.

He’ll be hoping that he can begin to be remembered once again for his managerial ability at Derby County, a team who he used to coach alongside Jim Smith in the 1990’s, and he starts with a game against a team that the Rams have had a lot of success over in recent years.

The last nine meetings have seen nine Derby wins and McClaren will be hoping to make it 10 out of 10 this afternoon. It would also stop a run of five games without a win that included Tuesday night’s dramatic comeback from 4-1 down to snatch a 4-4 draw with Ipswich.

McClaren was appointed as boss on Monday but wasn’t in charge of the game against the Tractor Boys. It didn’t stop him from speaking with his new players at half-time and inspiring them to a point that looked impossible going into the second half.

Despite their current form, their opponents away record isn’t much better. They’ve lost their last three games on their travels and haven’t scored in the process so it’s no wonder that bookmakers have Derby as favourites given the new man in charge, as well as the fact that the Whites haven’t won at Pride Park since 2002 when both sides were in the Premier League.

After a coaching spell with QPR, McClaren is back in the hotseat and for him to shake off the jokes and impressions that have been synonymous with his name in recent times, he needs this job to be a success. Getting back to the Premier League is the first step.

image: © eamoncurry

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