Nigel Clough looking for better balance from his players on the road after Foxes loss
DERBY County are searching for greater balance to their performances on the road.
The Rams have been a much more creative and attacking force in away games this season than last but they are missing some of the resilience that made them stubborn opponents last term.
Their away record in 2011-12 was seven wins and six draws.
Among those results, they chiselled out 1-0 wins at Watford, Blackpool and Hull.
All of those could be termed "classic" away displays in which Derby stifled and frustrated the home side and left with the points.
A "smash and grab" raid in football can be very satisfying.
They also ground out goalless draws at tough places like Burnley and Millwall, and a 1-1 result against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, where they lost 3-0 only two weeks ago.
The Palace reverse is one of four consecutive away defeats suffered by Derby in the past five weeks.
They lost 3-0 at Peterborough, 2-1 at Millwall and 4-1 against Leicester City at the weekend.
An average of three goals have been conceded in the four away defeats, a problem that needs attention, although the level and current form of the opposition should be taken in account.
Palace and Leicester sit second and third in the Championship, Millwall seventh.
Derby fell behind early on in the matches at Palace and Leicester and both goals came from corners.
Glenn Murray headed in to give Palace a 12th-minute lead and Zak Whitbread did the same for Leicester after only six minutes.
Martyn Waghorn added a second goal for Leicester after 22 minutes and Derby were in deep trouble.
They responded well, which pleased Nigel Clough.
"It showed some character because with things going against us early on we probably would have crumbled in recent years," said the manager.
"That shows this group has something but we've got to level that out by not giving the impetus to the home team early on."
Derby did not stay at 0-0 long enough in the two games to frustrate the home team and the home support.
Leicester, especially, had too much joy in pushing Derby back in the opening half-hour.
They should have met greater resistance before they were able to breach the back four.
To be effective, defending has to be a collective from front to back, starting with the strikers and then the midfielders.
It is too easy to point the finger at the defence, although Leicester's first two goals came from errors by defenders Richard Keogh and James O'Connor.
Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Michael Jacobs and Paul Coutts formed the midfield four at kick-off against Leicester and the creative quartet were unable to stem the Foxes' flow in the first third of the contest.
Clough felt they could have done more.
"We have not got players who just go and destroy. We have got creative midfield players and they just have to do a bit more in that department," he said.
"Forsake the playing and creativity for half an hour and go and get a tackle in.
"Will (Hughes) is 17 but he does put his foot in. The other two (Jeff Hendrick and Paul Coutts) have to do more of that as well.
"The whole team have to do a bit more."
Craig Bryson might have helped in that department and Derby missed the Scottish midfielder who was sidelined by a knee injury.
His energy allows him to snap at the heels of opponents and restrict the time they have on the ball, something Leicester enjoyed and capitalised on until Derby switched shape and put an extra man in the middle of the pitch.