08:13 Saturday 14 December 2013

Charlton Athletic's position is 'false' warns Derby County head coach Steve McClaren

Written bySTEVE NICHOLSON

WARNING . . . Charlton are a threat says Derby County head coach Steve McClaren WARNING . . . Charlton are a threat says Derby County head coach Steve McClaren

DERBY County head coach Steve McClaren is paying no attention to Charlton Athletic’s position in the Championship.

Charlton are 21st and only two points above the bottom three. They have won once in six matches and have the second-worst home record in the division.

The Rams are at The Valley today, kick-off 3pm, and looking to extend their winning run to six.

They have the best away record in the division – but the stats do not alter McClaren’s message.

“Charlton are dangerous opponents,” he said. “I’ve watched them, and I cannot believe the position they are in – it’s a false position.”

Charlton are managed by former Rams player Chris Powell, who was at Derby when McClaren was first-team coach under Jim Smith.

And McClaren is convinced Powell will soon guide Charlton up the table.

He said: “Chrissy will get them going, they will climb the table – but hopefully after today.

“Chris was always a great professional as a player and worked hard.

“It doesn’t surprise me he is doing well in management.

“He got Charlton close to the play-offs last season. We know it will be a tough game – going to The Valley is never easy.”

McClaren continues to stress the importance of his players keeping their feet on the ground as talk of a top-six finish and possible promotion grows.

He points out that the season is not yet at its midpoint.

Mclaren said: “When you are in it, there is no patting everybody on the back.

“It really is about getting yourself prepared for games.

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You have to be prepared and focused right every game in the Championship. If you are not, you can get beat by anybody, and get beat well by anybody.

“When you start thinking about top six and things, that is when it can go wrong.

“During the season we will have our ups and downs. Eventually we are going to get beat and we are going to have disappointing performances but what we have shown on our day, when we are focused and concentrated, is that we can be a very good team.

“Football has a way of bringing you back down to earth.

“All we are doing is trying to use our experience, that’s myself, Eric Steele, Paul Simpson, the rest of the staff and the senior players, the likes of John Eustace, Richard Keogh and Lee Grant.

“Why are we winning? We know why, let’s keep doing it.”

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