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Derby have rarely been out of the spotlight this season, after a disastrous start to the campaign.

After a run of one win in their first 11 Championship games and with the Rams sitting firmly bottom of the table, manager Phillip Cocu was sacked.

He was initially replaced by a four-man team of captain Wayne Rooney and coaches Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker. After two games – both of which were lost without scoring – Rooney took interim charge on his own, and has overseen two draws – 1-1 at home to both Wycombe and Coventry – and a win – 1-0 at Millwall on Saturday, a result which was overshadowed by some Lions fans booing players taking the knee before kick-off.

In Cocu’s time in charge this season, the solitary victory came at Norwich (1-0), but seven defeats – six of them without scoring – in the end cost him his job, after being appointed in the summer of 2019.

Derby are the only team in the Championship without a home win this season – with three draws and five defeats at Pride Park – while they have won two, drawn two and lost four away.

They did beat Barrow 3-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the Carabao Cup first round, before losing another home tie 2-1 to Preston.

This is Derby’s 13th consecutive season in the Championship – and 16th out of the last 17 at this level.

They have finished in the top half for the last nine seasons.

WHO’S IN CHARGE

Wayne Rooney has been one of the most famous names in English football in recent years.

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Rooney first grabbed the headlines as a 16-year-old when he scored a spectacular goal against Arsenal in 2002. Two years later he joined Manchester United, and in 13 years at Old Trafford, he made more than 500 appearances in all competitions and became their record goalscorer with 253.

He rejoined Everton for another season in 2017 before heading to the USA, where he spent two years with DC United. He officially joined Derby as a player on 1 January this year.

Rooney has also had a glittering international career, becoming England’s record goalscorer with 53, second most-capped player, behind Peter Shilton, with 120 appearances. He also played in the World Cup finals in 2006, 2010, and 2014 as well as the 2004 Euros.

He has said that if he becomes permanent Derby manager, he may call time on his playing career to concentrate fully on management.

WE’VE MET BEFORE

Brentford have played Derby every season that we have been in the Championship, and the sides have been evenly matched.

We have won four games, including both last season’s, drawn four, and lost four.

We had the upper hand in 2014/15 – following a 2-1 home win with a 1-1 draw at Pride Park – but the Rams got revenge over us the following season with a 2-0 home win and a 3-1 victory at Griffin Park.

Derby failed to score against us in 2016/17 – as we earned a goalless draw at Pride Park in Steve McClaren’s second game in charge, before hammering them 4-0 in the Good Friday return at Griffin Park.

The Tuesday night goalless draw was notable only for being our first clean sheet against the Rams in 11 attempts going back to 1953.

The home game was one of our best performances of the season as Lasse Vibe and Jota helped themselves to two goals apiece as we recorded our fourth win in five games.

However, the Rams have picked up seven points from the next three meetings.

We snatched a point from a game we had dominated at Griffin Park early in 2017/18 on a Tuesday night. Joe Ledley headed Derby into an early lead on his debut, but we were on top after that – winning the shot count 14-3. We finally equalised through Ollie Watkins in the 86th minute to give us a 1-1 draw.

The least said about the return game the better. We lost Sergi Canos to a straight red card in the 21st minute and then Tom Huddlestone and Cameron Jerome, with his first Rams goal, scored within five minutes of each other to put Derby 2-0 up. Matej Vydra made it 3-0 with a penalty in second-half injury-time.

Things weren’t much better in 2018/19. In the September away match as we lost 3-1 in a game in which all the goals came in the first half.

It had all started so well when Henrik Dalsgaard gave us the lead after only 44 seconds, but Harry Wilson, David Nugent and Mason Mount wrapped things up for Derby to inflict our first defeat in five games in all competitions.

The return at Griffin Park saw the Bees equalise three times to earn a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

A four-goal burst in 19 minutes meant it was 2-2 at half-time.

Harry Wilson gave the Rams an early lead, Julian Jeanvier equalised, Jayden Bogle restored Derby’s advantage with his first goal for the visitors, before Neal Maupay tied things up again.

Wilson hit his second in the 78th minute, but Said Benrahma made sure Brentford earned a share of the spoils.

We did the double over Derby last season.

A blistering first-half performance set us up for a 3-0 win at Griffin Park at the end of August. Bryan Mbeumo put us ahead in the 17th minute with his first Bees goal after Ollie Watkins’ shot had been blocked, and 83 seconds later Mbeumo returned the compliment by setting up Watkins for the second.

Mathias Jensen hit the bar before Watkins forced home the third – at the second attempt – in first-half stoppage-time.

There were no more goals in the second half and Derby failed to have a shot on target in the 90 minutes – having five shots overall compared to the Bees’ 22. The win took Brentford up to 14th in the table, while the Rams slumped to 19th.

We won the return – after the restart in July – 3-1 with Said Benrahma scoring twice, with his second strike being one of our goals of the season.

Ollie Watkins put us ahead in only the third minute with his 24th Championship goal of the season, slotting in the rebound after Bryan Mbeumo’s shot hit the post. Jason Knight equalised just before the half-hour mark from Wayne Rooney’s pass.

The second half was the Benrahma show, Firstly, in the 49th minute, his shot squirmed past former Brentford goalkeeper Ben Hamer at his near post to restore our lead. Fifteen minutes later, Benrahma collected a pass from Emiliano Marcondes, took on two defenders, and curled a superb shot into the far top corner to score his sixth goal in three matches and secure our seventh straight win.

We moved up to third, three points behind second-placed West Brom, while Derby slipped to 10th – three points outside the play-offs

OPPOSITION VIEW

BBC Radio Derby’s Derby County commentator Ed Dawes explains the goings-on at Pride Park this season and what Wayne Rooney has done differently since taking temporary charge, and also relishes his first visit to the Brentford Community Stadium.

Q – What on earth has been going on at Derby this season?

A – The Rams lost a lot of players last season, many were experienced and they simply weren’t replaced. The chairman Mel Morris had the plan to play at least half of the side as young academy prospects. But without the right blend of experience, it quickly became unattainable. The players weren’t up to it. Losing Chris Martin and not having anyone to replace him was a blow and they have struggled for goals. Add to that a leaky defence and the side fell to the bottom of the pile pretty quickly.

Q – How would you assess Philip Cocu’s time in charge?

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A – A big gamble to be honest. He had no experience of the Championship and there were clearly too many people having their say in how the team should play. The dream of the Dutch model being successful in the Championship was an exciting one. But they needed to either keep the squad together from last term or add to it having already earmarked signings for the summer window. It is clear that without the finances to back the dream, the dream would fail.

Wayne Rooney’s arrival seemed to undermine Cocu on the first day of the season. All of a sudden it was about Rooney and quickly it became Wayne Rooney’s Derby County. Not Cocu’s and not the fans. Add the car crash and the drink-driving convictions for Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett and the sacking of Richard Keogh, and he’d had a rough ride before Covid had hit. Throughout all of this, Cocu handled everything with dignity and confidence. He was a model professional.

Q – How did the Rams go from having four people in temporary charge to just Wayne Rooney?

A – I think decision-makers were trying to be too nice. Only one person can lead a football team. That’s why it is commonplace. Rooney is the big name, he was brought to Derby to learn the management role and it has come to him faster than expected. He struggled to state his case as player-manager, but made a sensible decision to step off the field.

Q –  What changes has Rooney made since taking over as interim boss?

A – He has given them a simpler job to do. Get it forward quicker. Use the flanks and be progressive. It is a better watch and he’s tightened up the defence. They’re still not flushed with goals and he’s made 16 changes in three matches. But they’re unbeaten in three, and won at Millwall.

Q – When do you think a permanent manager will be appointed?

A – How long is a piece of string? When the takeover is completed… whenever that will be.

Q – What was expected at the start of the campaign – promotion push, mid-table or relegation struggle and why?

A – They’ll do well to reach the play offs. But it is the Championship and if the takeover leads to money in January you just never know. Play-offs were a minimum at the start of the season. Now it is survival!

Q – What do Derby need to do to pull away from trouble?

A – Score more than one goal in a game and they’re off and running. They haven’t done that yet. They haven’t given themselves a chance.

Q – Which players should Bees fans watch out for?

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A – Colin Kazim-Richards. He will stand proudly raising a fist in the air for the BLM gesture. Then he will use his 34 years of age to try and physically outwit and encourage his team-mates. He’s a breath of fresh air.

Q – How do you feel about visiting our new stadium and also attending a game with fans?

A – I cannot wait. I’ve been spying this build for years. Chris Wickham in the Bees media team has been keeping me informed. I think your club is lovely, well run and deserves all of its success. Although Derby could do with a rare win and I know you can be charitable!

Q – Finally can you give me a likely Derby line-up and formation please?

A – It could be anything. He’s chopped and changed but if you see who finished the game at Millwall then you’re not far wrong. That was:

Marshall

Byrne

Davies

Clarke

Forsyth

Bielik

Bird

Waghorn

Knight

Josziak or Wisdom

Kazim-Richards or Buchanan

OPPOSITION MINI-PODCAST PREVIEW

We also have a mini-podcast preview with Billy Grant chatting to Derby fan and Second Tier podcast presenter Justin Peach.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME

The match is being played at the Brentford Community Stadium at 7.45pm on Wednesday, with 2,000 Bees fans in attendance. Season ticket holders who are not at the game will still have free access to watch the match on iFollow, and others can buy a match pass for £10.

Live audio commentary is available on iFollow with Mark Burridge, Jonathan Douglas and Natalie Sawyer with a match pass available to buy for £2.50,and it is also available to watch on Sky Sports Red Button while there are also reports on BBC London Digital.

IAN WESTBROOK

@ianwestbrook