‘Bigger Than Portsmouth’ – Rival Boss Claims Derby County Are Biggest Club In League One

Derby County travel to the Memorial Stadium this afternoon to take on Bristol Rovers, hoping to make it two wins on the bounce after a recent blip in form.

The Rams are locked in an intense battle for the automatic promotion places, sitting just one point behind Bolton Wanderers, who will make the trip to Exeter City. Meanwhile, League One leaders Portsmouth are away to playoff hopefuls Blackpool, having not lost a game in England’s third tier since mid-January.

Paul Warne’s side had let Bolton and Pompey extend their lead in the race for playoffs over the past two weeks with a 2-1 loss at Barnsley followed by a surprising home defeat against strugglers Charlton Athletic.

Nevertheless, a 3-0 win for Derby County at Pride Park last Saturday against relegation-threatened Port Vale has put the team back on track in their promotion push, with a difficult fixture away at Bristol Rovers still to come this weekend.

The Gas have picked up three wins from their previous four league outings, including impressive victories against Stevenage and Leyton Orient, having had men sent off during each game. Matt Taylor’s side are now 11th in the table, three points behind Lincoln City but with a game in hand.

A win for Rovers would really upset the League One promotion race and drizzle further doubt on Derby’s chances of returning to the Championship through the automatics this term.

Speaking to Bristol Live on Friday afternoon, Bristol Rovers boss Taylor was full of praise for the visiting team and admitted they are the biggest side in the division, more so than Portsmouth and Bolton “put together” [quotes via Derbyshire Live]:

“There’s nothing bigger at our level of football. We’ve mentioned Portsmouth and Bolton. I think Derby is as big if not bigger than those two put together. A monstrous club. All their history, the expectation, the pressure. A fantastic game of football.

“A full house on the back of a few good results. They had a thumping win against Port Vale last weekend so the two teams in the right place and they’ll go at it. But you’ll see the individual quality on show from the opposition. We’ve got to more than match it and make sure our team spirit shines through.”

“It will be a full house this week. I know they’ll come well-supported and we’ll be well-supported. I hope it’s a good game of football. I hope it’s a game where the players and the fans alike can really get their teeth into it because Derby at home should really be one to look forward to and this fanbase has said all along that we’ve been able to raise our game against the bigger teams so we’re certainly going to have to do that this weekend because, like I say, there’s some real strength in the opposition.”

Writer’s View

This is a must-win game for Derby County after a recent blip in form. Bolton are likely to win away at Exeter while Portsmouth are certainly favourites for their trip to Bloomfield Road against a highly inconsistent Blackpool.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that Derby are the biggest club in League One right now, even if the team are merely third in the table, but it seems far-fetched to state they are bigger than Pompey and Bolton put together. However, it’s difficult to look past the Fratton Park ambience when it comes to stadium atmosphere.


About Adam Scully 764 Articles
Deputy Head of Writing

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