Football League Daily – Clough delighted with Derby’s long-overdue victory

After watching his Derby County side win 1-0 away at Sheffield United on Saturday, their first victory in 10 attempts, beleaguered manager Nigel Clough declared himself delighted, both with the performance and the result itself. “We don’t know how important that result will be,” he said in a post-match interview. “We’ll know in the coming weeks how important it is but it certainly feels important. That result has been coming, though. It’s been coming because of the effort the lads have been putting in. I thought our two centre-halves were superb. […] We’re not out of trouble yet but it is very good that we’ve managed to put some daylight between ourselves and the bottom three.” Derby are eight points clear of the relegation zone – 10 points ahead of their Saturday hosts. In what is becoming an all-too familiar occurrence for Blades fans, Micky Adams was forced to discuss yet another morale-sapping defeat with the media. The downtrodden Adams admitted that his side “didn’t test their keeper enough. We put enough balls into the box but we didn’t have enough people attacking them or anticipating where the ball might fall.” Yet Adams remains defiant in the face of relegation: “Obviously morale is going to be affected. But morale can change very quickly. Everyone will be writing us off and I can understand that. But we’re not dead and buried yet. Not by a long chalk.”

Bristol City’s 2-0 defeat of Scunthorpe saw them record back-to-back wins and move 10 points clear of the Iron and the relegation zone. Keith Millen’s side have endured a disappointing campaign, but the long-awaited return of Nicky Maynard from injury may well be the spark that sees them finish the season with a flourish. “Nicky’s return has given the whole club a lift and he has clearly not lost his goal touch,” said Millen. “We need to keep looking after him because it is all too easy for muscle strains to develop after a long lay off, but I couldn’t be happier with the way he is playing. He looks like he has never been away, which is a tribute to how hard he has worked while recovering from the surgery. We are not safe yet by a long way, but this was a very big result for us. The difference between 10 points clear of Scunthorpe and only four points, which it would have been if they had beaten us, is enormous.” Maynard netted 20 times last season, a haul that persuaded relegated Burnley to submit a club record offer of £4.25 million for his services. With two goals in two starts, Maynard will now be hoping to fire his side up the table following his long injury lay-off.

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