Ex-Leeds man says QPR will bounce back at Elland Road

SHAUN Derry says Saturday’s trip to Leeds is an ideal opportunity for QPR to recover from their first league defeat of the season.

Rangers’ aura of invincibility was shattered when Watford won 3-1 at Loftus Road last weekend and they face a stern test against the in-form Yorkshire side, who are just six points behind them in fourth place.

But the former Leeds midfielder, who returns to Elland Road for the first time since his departure three years ago, told the Times: “I’d much rather play Leeds away than a team at the bottom of the league.

“People look at those games as a formality and they never are. Some may be asking whether we’ve got the credentials to get promoted – well, judge us after the way we respond on Saturday.

“The mood’s still very positive. We’re still in the best position of all the clubs in the league and we knew sooner or later our run would come to an end because of the nature of the Championship.

“As well as Watford played – and you’ve got to give them a great amount of credit – we didn’t perform anywhere near as well as we have done this season and it’s fair to say everyone’s performance dipped on the night.”

Derry spent nearly three years as a Leeds player, helping them reach the play-off final in 2006, but fell from favour under Dennis Wise and was then allowed to rejoin Crystal Palace for a second time.

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And the 33-year-old is relishing Saturday’s reunion with his old club, having missed out due to suspension when Palace were paired with Leeds in the Carling Cup two years ago.

“I was very proud and privileged to pull on that white shirt and I’d like to think I put in a decent bunch of performances at Leeds,” Derry added.

“When you play at Elland Road the backing of the fans is incredible and that makes it a really tough place to go. It’d be nice to get a good round of applause on Saturday, but my sole purpose is to perform for QPR.

“Sometimes when you’ve had a good season and got promoted you can carry that on and I think Leeds will definitely be in the top six when it matters.”