FIRST-TEAM coach Paul Simpson says drawing Chelsea in the FA Cup will help to keep Derby County’s players fully focused on the busy festive period of league matches.
Derby face Championship fixtures against Charlton Athletic, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley and Wigan Athletic before Premier League side Chelsea arrive at the iPro Stadium for a third-round tie in January.
A plum cup tie can see a team take their eye off the ball in the League, but Simpson is confident that will not happen.
“I think a draw like this keeps everybody focused because all the players will want to be involved in the game against Chelsea,” Simpson said.
“Hopefully the players will use the tie as a motivation tool to keep them right and firing on all cylinders, as we have been.
“When you dream of becoming a professional footballer, you don’t dream about playing in front of one man and his dog on a park pitch. You dream against pitting yourself against the top players in front of big crowds and in big ties.
“The tie puts Derby County on the footballing map again.
“It gets people talking because it is a big fixture. Ties do not come more attractive than Chelsea.”
Derby will look to consolidate their position in the top six of the Championship between now and the Chelsea game.
“The draw has been made, we are all excited, it is a great draw, but the next game for us is Charlton away on Saturday,” Simpson said.
“Let’s get that dealt with properly and see if we can keep on this good run.
“We are in the position we want to be around the top of the Championship but there is no point having a run like this and then it all falls away.”