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09/10 Pre-Season Plans


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Nigel Clough's first pre-season as Derby County manager will centre around domestic opposition - along with the customary curtain-raiser at Pride Park Stadium.

The Rams will be staying in England ahead of 2009/10 with games against local opposition in the shape of Burton Albion, Chesterfield and Notts County.

And there is also a tour of the West Country from July 21-25 taking in encounters with Yeovil Town, Torquay United and Exeter City.

It all comes to a close on Saturday August 1 with yet-to-be-confirmed visitors to Pride Park, with Clough looking towards a prestigious game to end his preparations ahead of the new campaign.

He said: "We will be reporting back for pre-season training on July 1 and playing some local matches so that supporters can get round and see us.

"Then we will have the games against Yeovil, Torquay and Exeter so again, if anyone wants a trip down they can get to see us."

Clough said the decision to stay on these shores was based around giving Rams fans the chance to see their team in action, along with the opportunity to make use of the facilities at Moor Farm.

"It's about giving supporters the opportunity to see us, and the best preparation for the players," the gaffer explained.

"We have a beautiful training facility here so we should use it.

"We won't be based here all of the time but the majority of the work, the majority of the hard slog, will be done from here."

Clough added: "It might be a different pre-season to what the players are used to but we will be doing the hard work and the ball work in combination.

"There are seven matches in that time and we will be building the players up game by game."

The annual curtain-raiser at Pride Park will be the Derby public's big opportunity to see how the Rams have progressed ahead of the new season.

Spanish giants Barcelona have twice visited in the past, along with the likes of Ajax, Real Mallorca and Sampdoria.

Clough's first target is to have his side facing a test from the domestic top-flight, but if that doesn't come to fruition the European market is in his mind.

"We play Notts, Chesterfield and Burton, and a week before the season we will have the big game at Pride Park," Clough said.

"We are trying to get English Premier League opposition to come and play us but if not we will go for a European side."

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