Revenge will be in the air when QPR step off the coach at the iPro Stadium on Tuesday.
The fixture is an intriguing one for a number of reasons, not least the fact that Paul Clement is a boyhood QPR fan whose father wore the hoops nearly 500 times in the 60s and 70s. But that’s merely a side issue compared to the vivid memory of Bobby Zamora’s decisive goal 17 months ago, which denied the Rams a return to the Premier League in the dying embers of a game they totally dominated.
After a shaky start to life in management, Clement has now got Derby looking like genuine promotion contenders once again, taking a cold and calculated tactical approach, so pre-match talk about this game being more than just three points raises alarm bells. If the Rams allow emotion to creep into their game, they might lose sight of the strategy that has served them well in recent weeks and be vulnerable to a few of the old skeletons from the Steve McClaren era.
Either way, the prices are wrong. The R’s might not be in the same bracket as far as promotion credentials go, but they have more than enough firepower to upset the apple cart with a favourable wind, and they already benefit from the head-start of an extra day’s recuperation after Friday’s disappointing televised defeat to local rivals Brentford.
That result at Griffin Park has piled the pressure on Chris Ramsey but there’s nothing to suggest the players aren’t behind him and can’t raise their game in the same way that Fulham have done for Kit Symons. Only once this season have Rangers been up against any of the top six in the outright betting and a 1-1 draw at Hull suggests they might be a team that enjoys the respite of being underdogs once in a while.
With Charlie Austin back in contention after four weeks sidelined by a hamstring injury, and Jay Emmanuel Thomas having made a favourable impression during his absence, it's possible that Rangers might even surprise their hosts with a new system that pairs both players together in attack. Whatever Ramsey goes with, the visitors have enough quality to make a mockery of such dismissive odds.
For more information about Mike Holden’s shot-based ratings system, follow this link.