Derby County's Jeff Hendrick out to set record straight against Crystal Palace
JEFF Hendrick is keen to put the record straight against Crystal Palace tonight.
The Derby County midfielder recalls the 3-0 defeat by the Eagles at Selhurst Park in November as the lowest point of the season for the team and himself.
The 21-year-old was struggling for form and confidence at the time.
He was dropped for the next two games, at home to Birmingham City and Cardiff City, before he regained his form.
Hendrick is set to make his 18th consecutive start and is showing the form that won him the club's young player of the year award last season.
Looking back to the Palace game, Hendrick said: "Nearly every game we have played this season we have been in with a chance but that game we were not at it and Palace were.
"Things were not going for us and Palace capitalised but, hopefully, we can put things right."
Hendrick remembers that period of the season as the toughest of his career so far.
"The game after that, I was left out," said Hendrick.
"I was on the bench for two games, then I came back and started to rebuild my confidence.
"I tried to put a bit more of my own stamp on games.
"As a player, you remember every game. We were not at the races that day at Palace.
"They are a hard-working team and tough to play against but we have been strong at home this season.
"We know if we are at our best we can take on anyone in the League."
Rams manager Nigel Clough wants the pain of the heavy defeat by Palace to drive his players on tonight.
He believes the setback can act as an incentive.
"That performance was unlike us this season – it was one game out of 34 when we did not deserve anything," said Clough.
"I hope there will be a few players wanting to put that right. The way we played down at Palace and the fact we did not do ourselves justice will serve as an incentive, I'm sure."
Glenn Murray scored twice and Andre Mortiz also found the net as Palace stayed top of the Championship.
They were on a 14-match unbeaten run at the time that included 11 wins.
Their form has slipped since – five wins in 17 league outings – but they have won three and drawn one of their last five matches and are up to fourth.
"They are in the shake-up for promotion," added Clough.
"I think they have had their little dodgy spell and they are coming out of it now.
"They are hitting a bit of form but we have been strong at home this season."