Derry is in dreamland as Rangers prepare for Norwich City

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Shaun Derry admits their position at the halfway stage of the Championship season is beyond their wildest dreams.

As the leaders prepare to face fifth-placed Norwich City at Carrow Road on New Year’s Day, fresh from a televised 2-0 win at Coventry on Tuesday that put them seven points clear at the top, Derry is keeping his feet on the ground. But he admitted: “You’d be lying if you said it wasn’t going better than planned.

“We never in our wildest dreams thought we would be in this position at the turn of the year so you’ve got to embrace it. It’s a great position to be in.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a healthy, quality squad, with 18 or 19 players capable of pulling on the shirt when required.”

The Canaries drew 0-0 in an entertaining encounter with Neil Warnock’s men at Loftus Road in October, when Wes Hoolahan missed a first-half penalty, and Derry expects another exciting contest.

“Norwich will raise the bar,” he said. “It’s always a great atmosphere at Carrow Road and it promises to be another cracking game.”

Derry has missed just one of Rangers’ 23 league games since his summer switch from Crystal Palace – and wins over Swansea and Coventry have put them back on track after successive defeats at the hands of Watford and Leeds.

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“We were under massive pressure with the way Coventry play, but we dealt with it very well in the first half,” he told Rangers’ official website. “The second half was excellent though, and we were good value for the win.”

Rangers, meanwhile, have won their appeal against the three-match ban handed to Clint Hill.

The defender saw red in the Boxing Day win over Swansea after clashing with Alan Tate.

Referee Phil Crossley also dismissed the Swans defender following the 19th minute altercation.

QPR appealed against the decision and their claim was upheld by the Football Association’s regulatory commission.

Hill, 32, is now eligible to face the Canaries on Saturday.