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Cloughie wants the play-offs


David

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NIGEL Clough is targeting a top-half finish for Derby County this season, although he does not believe a push for the Championship play-offs is out of the question.

Nigel Clough The Rams finished 18th last season and the only battle they were ever involved in was the fight against relegation.

But Clough only took charge halfway through the campaign and the former Burton Albion boss is hopeful that in a full season at the helm, he can steer them to less troubled waters.

He said: "I think we would expect an improvement on last season.

"It will be a tough league, and it used to be like that in the Conference with Burton. Every year you were looking at who had come down and there were always some big ex-Football League clubs.

"It’s like that now with teams coming out of the Premiership, and they will be looking to get straight back up, or maybe they’ve been down here a season or two too long and they want to get back in the Premiership.

"I think we can get a top-half finish, and once you’re there, you’re not too far away from the play-offs.

"We also want to get the young players bedded in and used to Championship football, and then look to challenge the next season."

Those young players include summer signing Ben Pringle, who was brought in alongside Dean Moxey, Jake Buxton and Lee Croft.

With Dean Leacock back in training now after his lengthy lay-off, Clough sees him as like a fourth new signing.

However, the manager is not done yet, saying: "The advantage of coming in in the middle of the season was that I got to have a look at the squad, and we said straight away that we thought we had a decent squad nucleus, we just wanted to make four or five additions.

"Ideally we’d like to have done a bit more business by now, but it’s not through lack of trying.

"We’ve still got a couple of months left before the transfer window closes to get another couple of players in and a few more out.

"I think everyone is leaving it a bit later and nobody wants to pay for players in May or June that they don’t have to.

"Everybody will be operating on much smaller squads than they have in the past."

Derby’s first pre-season game is against the Brewers on July 11 and Clough indicated he would field two different teams to give all of his players a run-out.

He said: "The Burton game will be used to give 45 minutes to each player, so we will put two different teams out.

"That shouldn’t tax them too much, but we will still be doing a hard week in training leading up to it."

[url=http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/burtonmail-sport/displayarticle.asp?id=430755]http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/burtonmail-spo...e.asp?id=430755

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play off's as a minimum.

What does annoy me is there are some really **** teams in the premiership who can't fill there grounds and are total crap

Stoke,Brum,Hull,Fulham,Wigan,Blackburn.

Brum for example was getting 20,000 average last season.This season it will be a sell out of 28,000.Were do these fans come from.

We belong to the premiership

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