Thursday 25 December 2014

Hendrick gets McClaren nod

Published 10/08/2014 | 02:30

Steve McLaren

DERBY head coach Steve McClaren is backing Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff 
Hendrick to become the team's latest midfield goal ace after his late winner sent Championship new boys Rotherham crashing to a 1-0 defeat at the iPro Stadium.

Hendrick finished superbly to win a game that looked to be heading for a draw when he swept a right foot shot from the angle of the box into the top right corner of the Rotherham net in the 82nd minute.

It was tough on the visitors who grew into the game after Derby had threatened to blow them away in the opening 20 minutes. Matt Derbyshire headed wide from eight yards before Hendrick pounced but Rotherham twice came close to equalising in stoppage time.

But Hendrick's quality was the difference and McClaren believes he can repeat last season's double figure goal tally by midfielder Craig Bryson.

"Keep your eye on Jeff," he said. "He played really well in the last 10 games of last season. He's a goal threat [and] he's got everything."

* * * * *

MICK MCCARTHY hailed the "diligence and professionalism" of David McGoldrick after the striker spearheaded a 2-1 opening-day victory over a new-look Fulham side.

McGoldrick put a five-month injury lay-off behind him to double the advantage given to Ipswich by Daryl Murphy's opener.

And while Tim Hoogland's deflected goal set up a tense final few minutes at Portman Road, the home side held on to claim a deserved three points and celebrate McGoldrick's return to action. McCarthy said: "We are a better team with David. The fact he is now back is all down to his diligence and professionalism.

Felix Magath's revolution at Craven Cottage saw him field eight debutants - including a backline all making their first competitive starts.

But it was their £11million new man Ross McCormack who Magath has called on to up his game. The Fulham manager said: "Ross came to us with a lack of fitness. He is not at the same level as the rest of the players."

* * * * *

LEE Erwin's first goal for Motherwell secured a 1-0 Scottish Premiership victory over 10-man St Mirren as Tommy Craig's reign began with the familiar sight of Jim Goodwin being sent off.

Erwin scored from a rebound in the 64th minute after Motherwell goalkeeper Dan Twardzik had kept a dominant visiting side at bay with a string of saves.

And Goodwin received a second yellow card 10 minutes later, although his offence was not obvious.

* * * * *

BRENTFORD'S return to England's second tier after 21 years ended with a deserved 1-1 Championship draw at home to London rivals Charlton yesterday.

Tommy Smith marked his debut with a deflected finish with five minutes remaining after Igor Vetokele had given the visitors the lead just after the hour mark.

* * * * *

EVAN MCMILLAN scored two and set up the other as Sligo Rovers moved back to fifth with a 3-1 defeat of bottom side Athlone Town last night.

The central defender picked out John Russell with 
a neat flick for the opener early in the second half, before firing home twice from corners in the last ten minutes.

Debutant Sam O'Connor pulled one back for the visitors, but it was a mere consolation for the midlanders, 
who slipped to their 17th defeat of the season.

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