Nigel Clough is hoping a change in format will provide a change in luck for Derby County when it comes to their fortunes in the Capital One Cup tonight.
The Rams’ form in the League Cup, previously known as the Carling Cup since 2003, has been largely forgettable since reaching the Semi-Final stage in the 2008-09 season, with three successive First Round exits to League 2 opposition.
On each occasion, bowing out of the competition has followed an opening day victory in the npower Championship – so Clough hopes tonight’s curtain-raiser against the Iron at Pride Park will deliver a change in luck for his side.
He is also calling on his troops to make the most of home advantage and avoid a fourth successive First Round elimination.
“We hope the change brings us better luck than what we’ve had lately,” Clough told Rams Player.
“In each of the last three seasons we’ve put an enormous amount of effort into winning our opening match of the season, and I think that’s had an effect when we’ve gone into the League Cup tie straight afterwards.
“We’ve looked drained and it’s been a case of ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ to a degree, so we hope by starting the season with a Cup tie tonight that it’ll change things around a bit.
“We’re at home in front of our own fans tonight so we need to take advantage of it, and if our attitude is right then hopefully our quality will come to the fore.”
Clough says there’s no suggestion Derby are taking tonight’s showdown with Alan Knill’s men lightly and he is determined to kick the season off on a winning note, even though a mouthwatering Championship clash against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday awaits them.
“We have prepared and tailored our pre-season for this game; as it’s the start of our season and we want to get it underway on a positive note,” he said.
“We’re taking this game seriously and we’re aware of the threat Scunthorpe pose, and the fact there have been some shocks already in the First Round.
“Our pre-season has been a good, positive one and we’re looking forward to getting the season underway now after four weeks of hard graft building up to the campaign.
“It might be the first game, but we’ve prepared for it like any other game and we’ve had Scunthorpe watched over pre-season, so we’re aware as we can be of their strengths.”
He added: “A scrappy 1-0 or whatever it takes, we’re not fussed as long as we get ourselves in the hat for the next round."
Watch Nigel Clough’s full pre-match interview on Rams Player.