NIGEL Clough goes head-to-head with fellow long-serving boss Kenny Jackett tomorrow when his Derby County side visit Millwall.
The Rams manager is now the second longest surviving Championship boss after Jackett, who has led the Lions since November, 2007.
Clough, who joined Derby in January, 2009, has been impressed with the job done by Jackett — the seventh-longest serving manager in the league — in bringing the good times back to the New Den.
“It’s a sad fact of life in the Championship — and in football in general,” said Clough ahead of tomorrow’s 3pm kickoff.
“Kenny’s done a very good job, getting Millwall promoted and then stabilised.
“They’re a tough side to beat, especially at their place.
“They’re in the midst of a great run and we hope the injuries they picked up at the weekend are ones that keep the players out for tomorrow.”
Clough is predicting a tough time for his hard-working side, several of whom will not have played in the unpleasant atmosphere Millwall usually throws up.
Will Hughes, 17, is still at Repton School doing his A-Levels and Clough thinks the hatred and vitriol of the New Den could be a bit of a culture shock for the youngster.
“The New Den is up there (in terms of hostile atmosphere),” said the Rams boss.
“Not many people look forward to going there.
“It’s important you have the character to stand up to it and I think we have in recent years.
“I think it’s the first time Will has been down to Millwall and it’ll be a bit different to Repton School! “We’ll look after the younger lads, but they’re of a mind to look after themselves and stand up to any situation.
“Two home wins have set us up nicely for the next two away games.”
Clough is sorely tempted to name an unchanged line-up for the second match running — but admits that injecting some fresh legs could be beneficial for the third game in a week.
The Rams had to work hard to beat Barnsley 2-0 on Tuesday night after their 4-1 hammering of Blackpool at the weekend.
“Ideally, we want to keep that continuity, but we’ll see about getting some fresh legs in,” said Clough.
“On Tuesday we looked a little bit jaded. It’s the intensity of games. In the last 20 minutes against Blackpool we told them to conserve energy and be 100 per cent at it against Barnsley.
“But even doing that we looked jaded. It shows why there are so few back-to-back wins in the Championship.
“When Garry Flitcroft won promotion back to the Premier League with Blackburn after one season out of the top flight, he said it was the toughest year he had in his career.”