Soft goals are proving tough to stomach as mistakes hold Derby County back
CONCEDING soft goals is holding Derby County back this season, according to manager Nigel Clough.
Heidar Helguson's goal for Cardiff City in Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Pride Park was a poor one to concede.
Mistakes have also been punished in the three consecutive away defeats at Peterborough United, Millwall and Crystal Palace.
Saido Berahino's late double for Peterborough was avoidable, as was Millwall's winning goal at The Den, which came from Craig Bryson's error.
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The Scot was caught trying to shepherd the ball behind for a goal kick and Andy Keogh curled his shot beyond Adam Legzdins.
At Palace, the Eagles' opener in a 3-0 victory arrived from a corner when Glenn Murray scored with a free header, although Derby feel the officials should have spotted some blocking in the area.
Other soft goals have been conceded in the draw at Middlesbrough and the defeat at Huddersfield Town, where the home side's winner came inside the opening minute.
"We have to stop conceding poor goals, that is the main thing that is going to hold us back," said Clough, who felt Legzdins and Michael Jacobs were at fault for Cardiff's goal earlier this week.
"Adam said straight away he should have dealt with it better," said Clough, "but also Michael Jacobs should have done better on the far side from where the cross came in. So, between them, they were responsible for the goal."
Only Palace have scored more goals than Derby in home games this season but the Rams are short of goals on the road.
Only Ipswich Town have scored fewer than Derby's seven in away games.
Clough believes this is where the absence of Jamie Ward has been felt most.
Ward has been out two months with a hamstring problem and will be missing again at Leicester.
"We have struggled to score goals away from home. We have got to find a way of doing that," said Clough. "That is where we have missed the spark Jamie can provide but now it has to come from Conor Sammon, Theo Robinson, Nathan Tyson or a midfielder, or from a set play.
"Can a centre-half get us a goal from a set play because we are conceding enough from set plays on the road?"