Derby County squad urged to maintain their focus after call-ups
NIGEL Clough has told his Derby County squad to stay focused ahead of a big international week for 10 of his players.
Six of the likely starting 11 against Huddersfield Town today have been called up by their countries.
In total, the Rams will have 10 players away on international duty next week, more than at any time in Clough's four years as manager.
Derby face Huddersfield at Pride Park keen to spark another run of good results.
Victory over Middlesbrough on New Year's Day is their only win in the last six League games.
The run has left them just below mid-table but three of the next five games are at Pride Park, where Derby have lost only twice in 14 League matches.
Clough believes a couple of wins would change the picture for his team in the Championship.
"The lads are now keen to get back out at Pride Park and get back to winning ways and we're certainly due a break in a game," he said.
"There's an overwhelming feeling we've not had a break in either penalty area in the last few weeks and we're being punished for every little mistake we make.
"We have a lot of lads on international duty next week and those call-ups are great for them but they are reminded we have a big three points up for grabs first before they even think about next week.
"We're capable of going on a run again and February would be a good time, purely because the games are coming thick and fast."
Opponents Huddersfield are an example of how fortunes can fluctuate.
Four wins and two draws in seven games from the beginning of the season was a solid start by the Terriers following promotion from League One.
They climbed to third at one stage but a slump of 12 matches without a win saw them tumble to 18th before a much-need victory over Crystal Palace on Wednesday gave them a lift.
The winless run cost Simon Grayson his job as manager and now former Derby striker Mark Lillis is in caretaker charge.
Clough knows that Huddersfield are fighting for every point.
"They will be very encouraged by the draw at home to Leicester in the FA Cup, a game they should have won by all accounts, and the League win against Palace," said Clough.
"Huddersfield were right up there at the start of the season and then they went 12 games without a win.That can happen to a lot of teams in the Championship."