Derby 4 Blackpool 1
Blackpool began life without Ian Holloway with a heavy defeat as Derby outclassed the Tangerines at Pride Park.
Holloway had left for Crystal Palace earlier in the day with Steve Thompson taking caretaker charge, but there was nothing the assistant manager could do to inspire his side against the rampant Rams.
Theo Robinson bagged a brace for the home side with John Brayford and Conor Sammon also on target, while a Tom Ince penalty was the only response the visitors could muster.
Thompson resisted the urge to change things around in the wake of Holloway’s departure, with Ludovic Sylvestre coming in for the injured Isaiah Osbourne the only alteration to the side which drew with Brighton.
Craig Bryson returned for Derby to replace Michael Jacobs, who dropped to the bench, while James O’Connor came into the back four to replace the suspended Jake Buxton, who was sent off in last weekend’s defeat to Peterborough.
Derby had the first real chance as Will Hughes found Robinson but Matt Gilks was alert to the shot and made the save.
Stephen Crainey felled Brayford to present Derby with another opportunity to get the ball in the box but Coutts’ free-kick was guided behind for a corner which came to nothing.
County were dominating and got the goal they deserved in the 12th minute as some good build-up play from Brayford and Coutts allowed the latter to get the cross in and Robinson coolly sidefooted home.
Blackpool had seen little of the ball although they were nearly level as Matt Phillips’ pacy low ball found Gary Taylor-Fletcher, but Richard Keogh’s last-ditch tackle guided the ball wide.
Blackpool were starting to assert some control but Robinson nearly had his second on the break as Hughes whipped in a low cross which was just in front of the striker.
The Rams had a second in the 31st minute as Coutts found Brayford and the full-back hit a stinging crisp drive from 25 yards which gave Gilks no chance.
The Seasiders got back into it from the penalty spot just four minutes into the second half as Phillips’ shot was adjudged to have hit the hand of Keogh by referee Mick Russell.
Ince hit a firm low penalty and despite Adam Legzdins getting his fingertips to it he could not stop the ball nestling in the corner.
But it only took Derby five minutes to restore their two-goal cushion as Kirk Broadfoot lost possession to Robinson, who surged into the box and slotted home for his second of the afternoon and seventh of the season.
Brayford tried to net his second with an audacious chip as he spotted Gilks off his line, but the effort drifted wide.
The fourth was not long in coming, however, as Coutts supplied another dangerous cross and Sammon was on hand to tap home from close range.
Thompson brought on striker Nouha Dicko in an attempt to try and drag the Seasiders back into the game but Derby easily contained any threat as they cruised to victory.