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Conor Sammon set to step in for Derby County’s suspended top-goalscorer Chris Martin

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

CHANCE . . . Derby County head coach says it "would have been very interesting" if substitute Conor Sammon had converted a good chance aganst Burnley

CHANCE . . . Derby County head coach says it "would have been very interesting" if substitute Conor Sammon had converted a good chance aganst Burnley

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CONOR Sammon is in pole position to step in for Derby County’s top scorer Chris Martin this weekend.

Martin’s red card in the defeat at Burnley will see the 18-goal striker serve a one-match ban when Millwall visit the iPro Stadium on Saturday.

Sammon impressed when he came off the bench against Burnley and appears to top the options for head coach Steve McClaren.

If the Republic of Ireland international gets the nod to face the Lions, it will be only his second start in the league this season.

His other was in the 4-4 draw against Ipswich Town on October 1.

He has made 28 appearances as a substitute and has come off the bench in 14 of the last 15 matches.

And Rams first-team coach Paul Simpson says Sammon is in the frame not only for his second-half display at Burnley but also for his contributions as a substitute this season.

“Conor has been unfortunate he hasn’t started more games,” said Simpson.

“He has been involved in every game and credit to him, his attitude has been spot on.

“He is in as good physical shape as anyone else at the club. He has improved with his feet on the technical side of it, he knows his job in the team and when he has been asked to go out and do a job, he really has done it.

“On Saturday, Conor came on for the second half and I thought he was superb.

“He covered so much ground, he got hold of the ball, he was a pest to Burnley’s two centre halves and was very unfortunate not to get a goal.”

On Sammon’s lack of starts this season - he made 43 last season - Simpson recalls his own experience in the latter stages of his career at Derby.

“I spoke to Conor and Johnny Russell a couple of weeks about the situation I was in here as a player,” said Simpson.

“When we got promoted in 1995-96, I was sub for lots of games and then I got my opportunity late on in the season. I scored a few goals and had a few assists.

“I told the two lads their day would come.”

Simpson says Sammon is one of a number of options for McClaren this weekend.

“We have also got other players, we are not in a bad position,” he added.

“We have got somebody like Patrick Bamford, who has got 22 goals this season. That is a nice option to have as well.

“Johnny Russell can play down the middle, Jamie Ward can play as a second striker.

“So we have players who can go in there.”

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