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Championship Preview: McClaren sets sights on promotion

Steve McClaren will take charge of Derby County for the first time against Leeds United in the Championship on Saturday.

His appointment to the Pride Park dugout earlier this week marks a third spell at the club for the former England boss, having helped guide them to promotion from the old second division as a player, before a return as assistant to Jim Smith in the 1990s.

McClaren revealed that he had no hesitation in taking the role after the departure of Nigel Clough, and has already set his sights on guiding his new club back to the Premier League.

He told the club’s official website: “When I was here last time we achieved something and it was an exciting time for the fans and the area, and that’s what our goal is now – to compete at that level again up against the best in the country.”

The new boss will have undoubtedly taken a number of positives out of the home clash with Ipswich on Tuesday, where Derby fought back from 4-1 down at half-time to earn a 4-4 draw.

They take on a Leeds side that could be about to undergo off-the-pitch changes of their own, with chairman Salah Nooruddin claiming this week that the club are close to attracting new investors.

Elsewhere, Wigan Athletic return to league action after their European exploits with a Lancashire derby against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

Owen Coyle’s side will have to be at their best to stop Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes, who has found the net eight times already this season, helping his side to back-to-back victories.

Fellow Lancashire club Burnley will look to maintain their position on at the top of the table when they host Reading, while unbeaten QPR will be keen to inflict more misery on bottom-of-the-table Barnsley at Loftus Road.

Fellow promotion hopefuls Leicester City travel to Doncaster Rovers, on the back of four wins in their last five games.

Elsewhere, fourth-placed Nottingham Forest make the trip to Brighton and Hove Albion and Blackpool face Charlton at The Valley, with Chris Powell’s side desperate to arrest a torrid run of form that has seen them win just once all season.

Bolton Wanderers have also endured a difficult start to their campaign, and continue their search for a first win away to Birmingham City in Saturday’s early game.

Sheffield Wednesday will have a similar task ahead of them when they host Ipswich Town, having been denied their first league win away to Brighton in midweek thanks to a late Keith Andrews strike.

Fellow strugglers Yeovil Town are away at Middlesbrough, in the first-ever league meeting between the two sides, while Bournemouth will hope to avoid a third straight defeat at home to Millwall.

Thu 3 Oct, 2013
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