, ‘Major role’, ‘8.5/10’ – Derby County squad player proves worth in crucial Bristol Rovers win

‘Major role’, ‘8.5/10’ – Derby County squad player proves worth in crucial Bristol Rovers win

Derby County secured a huge 3-0 victory on Saturday afternoon, getting the better of Bristol Rovers away from home to return to the automatic promotion spots.

Derby County secured a huge 3-0 victory on Saturday afternoon, getting the better of Bristol Rovers away from home to return to the automatic promotion spots.

Derby County were dominant at the Memorial Stadium, emphasised by their fine form in front of goal in the second half.

Dwight Gayle struck first, bundling his effort over the line. Tom Barkhuizen then doubled the Rams’ advantage with a fine finish into the top right corner before Martyn Waghorn wrapped up the scoring from close range.

Paul Warne’s men made it back-to-back 3-0 wins following their previous triumph over Port Vale. Both fixtures saw the Rams line up in a 3-4-3 formation, with Barkhuizen making consecutive starts out wide.

The former Preston North End man signed for Derby as a free agent last summer, but has never truly been a regular member of the starting XI since his arrival. The 30-year-old has shown glimpses of his quality during spells throughout his time at the club and he is seemingly starting one of his purple patches at the perfect time.

Derbyshire Live reporter Leigh Curtis handed him an 8.5/10 rating after the match, the highest of any player, saying this:

“Started brightly when he showed some really neat touches and powerful running. Played a major role in two goals but his finish for the second was so good.”

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Barkhuizen ready to bolster Derby’s promotion push

The Rams moved back up to 2nd place following three points on their travels, with automatic promotion from League One now back in their hands after results around them in the table went their way at the weekend.

Barkhuizen’s strike against the Gas was his eighth goal of the season in all competitions, with the winger having recorded six assists alongside that. 

Less than 50% of his appearances have come as part of the starting XI in the league this term, but should Warne continue to utilise the 3-4-3 formation then he may get an extended run in the team right at the business end of the campaign.

Perhaps the signing of Corey Blackett-Taylor in January has played a part in the wide player’s improved performances. If he is to keep it up then Blackett-Taylor may not even get back into the side.

Only time will tell, but Barkhuizen at his best is bound to boost the Rams’ hopes of a return to the Championship.

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