With Brighton & Hove Albion’s opponents for the 2015/16 Championship season now confirmed, the club’s media team will take a look at the Seagulls’ 23 opponents for the next campaign.
The eighth team to feature in our opposition focus series is Derby County.
LEAGUE POSITION: 8th
FA CUP: Fifth round
LEAGUE CUP: Fifth round
TOP GOALSCORER: Chris Martin (21)
2014/15 SEASON REVIEW
Derby County entered the 2014/15 season eager to erase the disappointment of losing the Play-Off Final to Queens Park Rangers and secure promotion back to the Premier League following a seven-year absence.
But despite being placed in the top six for the majority of the season and even leading the Championship table on a number of occasions, the Rams astonishingly ended the season in eighth place after picking up just two victories in their final 12 games of the season.
Their poor end to the campaign ultimately cost Steve McClaren his job and he has since been replaced by former Real Madrid coach Paul Clement.
The Rams made good progress in both cup competitions, reaching the Capital One Cup quarter-finals at the expense of Carlisle United, Charlton Athletic, Reading and Fulham ahead of hosting Chelsea at the iPro Stadium.
The Blues secured a 3-1 win on their way to claiming the trophy thanks to goals from Eden Hazard, Filipe Luis and Andre Schurrle, while Craig Bryson netted a consolation for Derby.
The Rams saw off Conference side Southport in the FA Cup third round with a 1-0 win, ahead of 2-0 victory over League One Chesterfield in round four. Derby exited the competition in the following round after a 2-1 defeat to Reading.
LATEST NEWS FROM SEAGULLS.CO.UK
- ALBION TO HOST FA GIRLS’ FOOTBALL FESTIVAL
- TEIXEIRA WINS LIVERPOOL AWARD
- WATCH 1983 FA CUP RUN
- SEVILLA TICKETS ON SALE
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW? 2004 PLAY-OFF HEROS
LAST TIME WE MET:
Brighton & Hove Albion moved nine points clear of the relegation zone following a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Derby County at the Amex.
Goals from substitutes Dale Stephens and Kazenga LuaLua earned the Seagulls a first win in six attempts against the promotion-chasing Rams.
Derby created a number of opportunities to get on the scoresheet, as chances fell to Thomas Ince and Richard Keogh, but Albion keeper David Stockdale was on hand to thwart their efforts.
Jamie Ward then flashed a dangerous ball across the six-yard box but it was just too long for the arriving Johnny Russell.
Albion broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when Stephens headed the ball into the path of Calderon, who then reacted quickest to the loose ball before finishing low past Lee Grant.
LuaLua doubled Albion’s lead in the 76th minute with a powerful low drive into the bottom right corner from Chris O'Grady's excellent through ball.
Albion line-up: Stockdale; Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Bennett; Holla, Kayal (Ledesma 90+5); Calderon, Teixeira (Stephens 67), Baldock (LuaLua 40); O’Grady.
Subs not used: Walton (GK), Hughes, Halford, Best.
Derby line-up: Grant; Shotton, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Hendrick, Mascarell (Dawkins 76), Bryson; Ince, Russell (Thomas 76), Ward (Lingard 72).
Subs not used: Roos (GK), Albentosa, Warnock, Hughes.
Paul Clement began his coaching career at Chelsea in the club’s centre of excellence on a part-time basis before taking up a full-time role at West London rivals Fulham after gaining his UEFA ‘A’ coaching licence in 1999.
Clement had a spell working with the Republic of Ireland under-21 national team before returning to Chelsea in 2007 and eventually progressed his way up to first-team coach under Guus Hiddink and then Carlo Ancelotti.
A spell under Steve Kean at Blackburn Rovers followed, before he linked up with Ancelotti once again at Paris St Germain.
Clement followed Ancelotti to Real Madrid in June 2013 and he became the Italian’s assistant coach at the Spanish giants. He helped the side to a Copa Del Rey and Champions League double during his first season, but left the club four days after Ancelotti was sacked earlier this month following a trophyless 2014/15 season.
The 43-year-old was appointed Derby County manager on 1st June and replaced Steve McClaren.
Following two frustrating seasons of missing out on promotion, Derby are eager to make it third time lucky in their bid to secure their place among England’s elite clubs once again.
A Play-Off Final defeat in 2013/14 was followed by missing out on a top-six finish completely in 2014/15, ultimately costing Steve McClaren his job.
The appointment of Paul Clement is intriguing and the highly-rated coach insists he is eager to take advantage of the number of contacts he has built up at the likes of Chelsea, Paris St Germain and Real Madrid in order to bring in potential loan signings.
The East Midlands side have already shown intent by securing the services of former Seagulls loanee Darren Bent, after he scored 12 goals in 17 appearances for the Rams during a loan spell last season.
Alex Pearce has also ended a 14-year association with Reading to bolster the defensive ranks, as Derby look set to mount another promotion challenge next season.
See Albion v Charlton Athletic at the Amex plus 22 other opponents from as low as £20.22 per game by purchasing a season ticket for 2015/16.