NIGEL Clough says Derby County must not gift Huddersfield Town an early advantage today writes DAVID BROOME.
The Rams host the Terriers at Pride Park, kick-off 3pm, looking to bounce back from last weekend’s FA Cup fourth round defeat to Blackburn Rovers and pick up their first league win in more than a month.
And they will hope to do better than they did in the game at the John Smith’s Stadium back in September, when a Danny Ward goal inside the first minute proved the difference between the sides.
Clough said: “I don’t think they’ll need reminding.
“It was one of those where we conceded after a minute and then dominated the game for the next 85 or so.
“We’ll settle for that kind of performance without conceding.
“We have to make more of a concerted effort, whether it’s through not making mistakes or whatever, not to concede goals.”
Huddersfield sacked Simon Grayson last week, and caretaker boss Mark Lallis - an ex-Rams player and manager himself - is expected to still be in charge come Saturday.
Clough said: “I’m not sure if they’re going to have someone in place.
“They had a big game against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night (a 1-0 win for the Terriers), and they’ll be very encouraged by the draw against Leicester in the cup last week, which they should have won by all accounts.
“They’re one of those teams who were right up there at the start of the season, and then they go 12 games without a win.
“But that can happen to any team in the Championship.”
The Rams could do with going on a good run themselves, their last one
having ended back in October, when they went five games without defeat.
“We hope to get back on it,” said the former Burton Albion boss.
“A couple of wins can change everything for us.
“I don’t think these surfaces are helping us in general at the moment, because they have deteriorated with the snow we’ve had.
“We saw some pitches in the FA Cup last weekend which were a long way from the lovely green surfaces of a month or so ago.
“It’s a bit more bobbly now as the pitches are cutting up, and it’s harder to play our football.”
Derby have been boosted by the recent return of midfielder Craig Bryson, defender Mark O’Brien and forward Jamie Ward, and Jake Buxton was set to return to training yesterday.
“We’ve got him down to do a light session and start training in earnest next week, with a view to playing in the (Under-21s) game against Crewe.”
On Ward’s return, Clough said: “He needs to get fitness back and there’s no substitute for Championship games.
“He’s had three months out, and he wouldn’t even have that long off in the summer, so it’s starting the season anew for him.”