Clough wants 'two or three' more to take the next step
NIGEL Clough believes two or three new signings this summer will see Derby County push on next season.
Derby brought their Championship campaign to a close on Saturday with a 1-1 home draw against Peterborough United.
A point gave the Rams a total of 64 – their third best tally in 16 seasons – and a finishing position of 12th, their highest in five years.
Clough sums up the season in one word – "progress".
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Now the manager is planning for 2012-13 and has identified the players he would like to bring in to help push Derby closer to the top six.
"I feel we are not far away – and we've not been able to say that for a while," said Clough.
"It has been a season of moving forward and we will look to build on it next season.
"The majority of the players we brought in last summer have made a difference.
"We sat here 12 months ago and said we needed five or six players to take us to the next level and we have done that.
"Now we are identifying what we need to take us to the next level.
"I think we just need two or three more players to improve us again."
Clough is keen to boost Derby's quality in the final third and add goals to the team.
Derby are also interested in Northampton Town's wide midfielder Michael Jacobs and are eyeing cover for Gareth Roberts at left-back.
A realistic aim for Derby this season was a top-half finish, although Clough admits he is a touch disappointed and frustrated by their final position.
"We are a bit disappointed and I think that is a good thing," he said.
"We were hoping for ninth or 10th and I think the season we've had deserved that but until we put a finishing touch to some of our play, where we are is where we are going to be."
Clough is pleased with the consistency shown by his team since Christmas.
"We were the only team in the country to win our three games over the Christmas and New Year period," he said.
"From then on, although the results have not always gone for us, I think our performances have been very, very consistent.
"The second half of the season has pleased us.
"I don't think we have played badly for a whole game or had an off-day in any one of the games since then Christmas.
"I think our last off-day was against Cardiff in November.
"Our performances have been of a certain standard and above a certain level since then."