MARK Warburton believes that the arrival of Wayne Rooney at Derby County has had a big impact on the Rams’ form.
The east midlands club announced in August that the former England captain would join them in the New Year and, since making his debut, the Rams have only tasted defeat twice in 12 matches.
Rooney – who made his 500th appearance in English football on Friday night - scored in Derby’s draw with Fulham and Warburton is not surprised that he has had a positive impact on his new team.
“They’ve had a good run of results recently,” Warburton told www.qpr.co.uk. “Wayne Rooney is definitely having an impact and he would do because he is a world-class player, one of England’s greatest.
“There was always going to be a reaction and they have also got the likes of Lawrence and Waghorn, who we know well. They have quality all over the pitch and what we have to do is recognise it and respect it.
“We have to understand how we can impose ourselves on the game, how we can impact them in a positive way. We are at home and we know that we are a good team; we can create chances and score goals.
“We have to concentrate and hopefully we can get the right result.”
Warburton named an unchanged XI for the third successive match on Saturday, as Rangers battled to a point at promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest.
Two players to come into the team for the last three games are Angel Rangel and Yoann Barbet, who both returned following lengthy injury lay-offs.
The R’s have kept two clean sheets in those games – against Forest and Swansea City – and the manager is delighted to have the defensive duo back.
He said: “They have a lot of quality and a lot of experience. Let’s not forget that young Conor stepped in and did a great job for us and likewise Todd Kane has played a lot of football and there are no questions over his quality and character.
“All credit to Yoann, the sports science and medical staff for coming back after that length of injury lay-off and playing the consecutive games at this level.
“That is a great example of the staff and a player working together and you see the outcome. I’m delighted because Yoann has put a lot of effort in.”
Saturday’s draw in Nottingham means that it is now three games unbeaten for the R’s. Reflecting on the result, Warburton felt his side were full value for their point.
He said: “It was a performance filled with character, desire and there was no shortage of quality.
“Forest are a good team and they are pushing hard for promotion. They have invested heavily in their squad and we have gone to a packed City Ground and the players have shown a real desire and resilience to defend our goal and, in truth, I think we had the clearer chances.
“Possession was evenly split – they had more of the first half and we certainly had more in the second half and overall we’re pleased with the point.”