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Clough: My five-star attack


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Derby County manager Nigel Clough has earmarked the five strikers he wants to attack the Championship next season.

The five, all currently at the club, are Rob Hulse, Chris Porter, Kris Commons, Steve Davies and Luke Varney.

“They are the five first-choice strikers we have got in mind,” said Clough.

The Rams boss is looking to add new faces to his squad this summer but is happy with the forward department.

However, he has said he would like to add a pacy striker to the mix if one became available.

“We have a nice balance of different types of striker,” added Clough.

“The only thing we are really missing is a bit of blistering pace, out-and-out pace, and if we have an opportunity to bring somebody in with that, we will do.”

Hulse was leading scorer with 18 goals this season and his partner in the second half of the campaign was Kris Commons, who was moved from the left to a role just off the centre-forward.

Chris Porter, a £400,000 signing from Motherwell in January, hit three goals in two games before a hip injury ended his season in early March.

Varney was troubled by injury and illness after making his loan move from Charlton Athletic permanent in the last transfer window.

He has one goal in 10 starts but returned from a month’s loan at Sheffield Wednesday refreshed and more confident and started the final three games.

Steve Davies is another player whose season was blighted by injury.

He fractured his eye socket and cheekbone in October, underwent a hernia operation, had a groin injury and a problem with his toe, and then suffered a broken foot at the end of March.

The 21-year-old has filled a number of positions since arriving from Tranmere Rovers.

“We are going to include him initially as a striker,” said Clough, looking ahead to next season. "We are going to have five strikers and Steve will be available to fill in wide if we need him.

"With a smaller squad, it is imperative we have a couple of players who can play different positions, and he can.

"He certainly has a future here, we have seen glimpses of him and what he is capable of.

"What he needs to do now is get himself fit for when we report back on July 1.

“It is very important he gets a good pre-season under his belt and goes from there.”

Argentine striker Emanuel Villa has not started a game for Derby since the defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in December and is expected to move on this summer.

The 27-year-old signed from Mexican club UAG Tecos in a £2m deal in January 2008 and attracted interest from clubs in South America and Europe at the start of the year.

Nathan Ellington is to go back to Watford after his season-long loan.

When asked about Ellington, Clough said: “He’s had lots of niggles and knocks since we’ve been here in the last four months – we’ve not really seen him out there on the pitch and we have got plenty of strikers.”


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