Derby County vs Stoke City – Match Preview

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Michael O’Neill said his Stoke City side are “heading in the right direction” ahead of their Championship clash against Derby City tonight.

The comments come after three wins in four games for The Potters, including impressive wins against promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.

Derby lost 3-2 to strugglers Luton Town last week but the manager maintained the Rams, and new player-coach Wayne Rooney, pose a serious threat.

He said: “We obviously know what a great player Wayne Rooney has been and still has capabilities as well and he’s done that in the short period he’s been here.

“They’re a good side, they’re a possession-based team so I expect them to play that way but the focus really has to be on ourselves and also be aware of the threats from the opposition.”

O’Neill arrived at the Bet365 in early November, with Stoke rooted to the bottom of the table and six points adrift of safety.

But after 14 games of the Northern Irishman’s tenure, they now five points clear of relegation and another win tonight could see them climb to 18th in the table.

O’Neill also said that new signing Jordan Thompson may have to bide his time in his hunt for first team action.

He said: “We’ve won two games and kept two clean sheets so he’ll have to be patient in that respect, but Jordan has been a very good addition to the squad and has trained very well”

A compatriot of his new manager, Thompson arrived from Blackpool earlier this month but is yet to register a league appearance.

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