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Mac knows his Derby County side have missed out on points in the last few weeks

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 18, 2014

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HEAD coach Steve McClaren believes Derby County have missed opportunities in the past month to put more pressure on second-placed Burnley.

Burnley occupy the second automatic promotion spot in the Championship with four games left.

They are eight points ahead of Derby as both clubs prepare for Good Friday action.

The Rams are away to Doncaster Rovers tonight, kick-off 7.30pm, and Burnley make the trip to Blackpool, kick-off 5.15pm.

McClaren continues to field questions about the possibility of catching Burnley, but he highlights dropped points in recent weeks.

Derby collected only two points from nine against Millwall, Bolton Wanderers and Reading last month and lost to a late goal at Ipswich.

The 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough earlier this month did not help matters.

“We have missed enough opportunities already to catch Burnley,” said McClaren.

“A point at Reading, and losing at Ipswich and Middlesbrough has cost us. We would have been closing in on Burnley and putting more pressure on them but we have failed to take advantage.

“Burnley have collected enough points to get over the line. We cannot expect them to slip up, but getting over the line is very difficult.

“Anything can happen, there are tough fixtures ahead for everybody.”

Derby’s first task is to make certain of their place in the play-offs.

The cushion between themselves and the team in seventh place, Brighton, is 11 points and a victory at Doncaster would be enough to secure a top-six finish no matter what other teams do.

“What we mustn’t do is slip up,” said McClaren.

“We need a win to cement our position in the play-offs and it is about staying focused. If we do that, we will collect the points.

“Where you finish is where you deserve to finish over 46 games.

“If we don’t make it (second place) and Burnley do, then they will deserve it, just as Leicester City have deserved it already.

“But we deserve to be in the position we are in.”

McClaren says Derby are enjoying being in the promotion mix.

“We have gone 42 games now,” he said. “We have always done the work on the training field and we have always had a smile on our faces come rain, snow, cold, sunshine.

“We have always played with enthusiasm in the games and on the training field.

“Whatever happens, we are enjoying the position we are in, absolutely enjoying it, and we should do. Why should there be pressure?”

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