Derby County vs. Leeds United

Npower Championship

Football
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Published: 21/12/2011

Nigel Clough’s struggling Derby County will be seeking to halt their rapid slide down the Npower Championship table when they face old rivals Leeds United at Pride Park on Boxing Day.

This particular fixture has always carried a fair amount of spice and that has been enhanced even further ever since Clough took over the reins at Derby, the club once managed by father Brian who infamously lasted a matter of days in charge of Leeds later on in his career back in the mid-seventies.

Simon Grayson is now at the helm at Elland Road and his Leeds side go into this particular fixture clinging on to a play-off place after being turned over at home to Reading.

The Whites are still amongst the favourites for promotion in many people’s eyes however their last display was enough proof to suggest that a great deal of work has to be done before they are ready to take the next step up to the Premier League.

This fixture sparks many memories of when both clubs occupied a spot in the English top flight but it could be a long time before Derby come close to achieving promotion back to the ‘Promised Land’.

Leeds tend to perform well on the back of a bad defeat and with the pressure of their home supporters off on December 26, it is quite easy to envisage them getting the better of a poor County side and putting their promotion bid back on track.

Clough is well respected by the Derby fans but he must act fast if he is to preserve his long term future as well as the clubs status as one of the biggest outfits in the division. Although Leeds demonstrated very little against Reading, Derby were equally as poor away at Ipswich Town and Leeds’s failing could probably be put down a bad day at the office.

After a positive start to the campaign, Derby have consistently struggled to compete on a week to week basis with the clubs around them and unless Clough can spark an instant riposte, a relegation tussle looks ominously on the horizon for the Rams.

If unable to prevent a Leeds backlash, Derby will be hovering dangerously above the bottom three come Boxing Day night and they will have to put up a stern resistance to avoid similar treatment to that which Leeds dished out to Nottingham Forest at the start of December, where they romped to a 0-4 win at the City Ground.

The 8/5 about Leeds could probably be a little bigger considering how dire they were on their last outing, however it would be a big surprise if they were to turn in a second consecutive no show.

Derby remain capable of being a decent side but Clough has had plenty of time to turn things around and their decline looks set to continue as there is simply nothing to suggest otherwise until the January transfer window opens.


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