Derby took the first step towards easing the pain of their play-off final defeat with a 1-0 victory over Championship newcomers Rotherha
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Barnsley's chances of Sky Bet Championship survival were left hanging by a thread after a 2-1 defeat at play-off-bound Derby left them four points from safety with two games to play.
A glaring error by goalkeeper Luke Steele allowed Jeff Hendrick to put the Rams ahead before a deflected Johnny Russell shot increased their lead and, although Nick Proschwitz pulled a goal back, it came too late for the visitors.
Russell had a chance to extend the hosts' advantage with a penalty eight minutes from the end, but saw it saved by Steele.
Twenty-four years to the day since Derby last beat QPR at home they repeated the feat to keep their Sky Bet Championship promotion challenge firmly on track.
John Eustace scored the only goal of the game, more than four-and-a-half years after his last for the Rams, as the division's most potent attack came out on top against the tightest defence at the iPro Stadium.
Former Derby and Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham has announced his retirement with immediate effect only a week after joining Skrill North side Altrincham.
– Former Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham.
I realise this will come completely out of the blue to a lot of people, but, believe me, it is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It is a massive step to hang up your boots and accept you are finished, but it's one I could not avoid.
Looking back, I should probably have quit when I left Chester, but I couldn't pass up the chance of joining Alty. I always said I would play for the club I have always supported and I genuinely hoped it would prove the catalyst for firing me up again and getting me back to how I used to be.
Higginbotham started his career at Manchester United where he made seven appearances, before a loan spell at Royal Antwerp preceded spells with Derby, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland.
Former England boss McClaren is capable of re-establishing Derby in the Premier League, according to Jose Mourinho, who is sending a first-choice Chelsea team to the newly-named iPro Stadium to tackle the Rams in their FA Cup Third Round tie.
– Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
He knows the football that can take him not just to the Premier League, but also to play with a certain stability if, or when, they reach the Premier League.
A team that will play the best they can, without any kind of pressure.
Do we lose? Do we win? Who knows? At least the message is we respect them and we go there with the best possible team.
The next game after Derby is Hull at the weekend. We can play against Derby and have a day off on Monday.
Derby have signed Tottenham midfielder Simon Dawkins on a permanent deal following a successful loan spell at the Championship club.
Dawkins joins Steve McClaren's men for an undisclosed fee, believed to be worth in the region of £500,000, on a two-and-a-half year contract.
The 26-year-old attacking midfielder joined the Rams from Spurs on a three-month deal in October and has scored three goals in his 13 appearances.