Nigel Clough believes Derby County must take advantage of back-to-back home games this week – starting against Charlton Athletic tonight.
Having scored 12 goals in just three home games this season, including five-goal blasts against Scunthorpe United in the Capital One Cup and Watford in the npower Championship, Derby have been in fine goalscoring form.
Uncharacteristically the Rams drew a blank on Saturday by losing 1-0 at Huddersfield Town, but with Charlton visiting Pride Park this evening and then Burnley at the weekend Clough wants his side to make home advantage count.
He told Rams Player: “It’s nice to be back home at Pride Park, especially as we’ve scored 12 goals in three games so far this season in front of our home fans.
“We want to continue in that form. We like attacking at every opportunity and that will only get the crowd going as well, as we’ve seen already.
“Before the Huddersfield game I mentioned we were looking forward to the week ahead and although we were disappointed to lose on Saturday, we’ve got two good games to look forward to now.
“The players were disappointed with how Saturday went so hopefully they can take their frustration out on Charlton, and then Burnley.
“Four of our next six games are at home so there’s a big opportunity there for us to make the most of being in front of our fans and climb into the top half, where we feel we should be already.
“At home is where we feel we can be at our strongest by getting teams on the back foot, but we need to start keeping clean sheets as well to give ourselves a chance.”
Four of Derby’s five points have come at Pride Park this season, and Clough admits one point on their travels so far does not do Derby justice for their displays at Bolton, Wolves and Huddersfield.
“Our performances have warranted far more than a point so far away from home and anyone who has been at the games will know that, so we need to ensure we keep ticking along by getting points on the board at Pride Park,” he said.
“A year ago we were going away to places and nicking a few points or even hanging on at times, which was certainly by not playing as well as we are now so that needs to balance out and get a few more wins.
“It’s important the players continue to do the majority of what they’ve been doing for the last six games, because there hasn’t been a lot wrong.”
Reflecting on the weekend defeat at Huddersfield as Derby returned to action after the two-week international break, Clough felt his side needed to show a more ruthless edge to their play in the final third.
He said: “We had so much possession and the stats back that up; but we just simply didn’t create enough chances, get crosses in or shots away.
“We need to be a little bit more clinical and we’ve stressed to the players it is all good and well keeping the ball, but they need to remember we are keeping it for a purpose the majority of the time – to create chances and score goals.
“What we needed was someone to get hold of the game and control it in the final third, very much like Will Hughes did in midfield – but we want someone up there to say ‘I’m going to score a goal or create one’ – and we have players capable of doing that.
“To be fair to the players we’ve created chances in every game this season until Saturday, so hopefully it was a one-off and we can get back to form against Charlton.”
On Charlton specifically, he added: “They had a tough game on Friday against Crystal Palace and lost 1-0 so like ourselves, they will be looking to bounce back.
“They’ve made a steady start, again like ourselves, and Chris Powell has done a very good job down there.”
Watch Nigel Clough’s full pre-match interview on Rams Player.