DERBY County manager Nigel Clough has told his players not to change their style of football as they seek an end to a dismal run of form.
The Rams take on Leicester City at Pride Park live on Sky Sports tomorrow (Saturday, March 16), kick-off 5.20pm, hoping to end a run of eight games without a win.
Although Clough’s side have rarely been outclassed in that period, the former Burton Albion boss knows they need to start picking up wins to avoid slipping any closer towards the Championship relegation zone.
He said: “We’re in the middle of a bad run and we’re getting to the stage where we need to get two or three wins as it’s getting a bit close for comfort.
“It’s a shame and we’re a bit puzzled how we’ve not won.
“I don’t want the players to think they have to do anything different to the first two-thirds of the season.”
East Midlands rivals Leicester, despite still being in the play-off zone, are not on a good run themselves, and Clough hopes his side can use the pressure that is mounting on Foxes chief Nigel Pearson to their advantage.
“There’s very few teams in good form at the moment,” he said.
“If we can, we’ll try and exploit their nervousness.”
Meanwhile, Clough has acknowledged that some of his squad have found playing in the Championship a tough task this season.
It is the first time that the likes of centre-half Valentin Gjokaj, who has filled in at right-back in the last two games, winger Michael Jacobs and left-back Michael Hoganson have played at this level, while academy products Will
Hughes, Mark O’Brien and Jeff Hendrick are only in their second full season.
“The young lads have done well and Valentin (Gjokaj) has gone in there and played out of position,” Clough said.
“But it’s difficult for them coming into the Championship for the first time.”
On Jacobs, who clearly has talent but whose form has been sporadic this season, Clough said: “We’ve not been delighted with his form away from home, although at home he has done well.
“Coming from where he has at Northampton – it’s a big step up.
“He’s got all the attributes to be a good player though.”