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Derby v Sheffield (x two) - 02/11/2002

Derby v Sheffield (x two)
A weight off his shoulders

On Wednesday it was United and on Saturday it’s Wednesday, Derby playing both the Sheffield clubs within four days. Lets hope we can finish the job and take six points from the steel city.

We were facing a United side that was absolutely flying, and to send them home without a point was a great achievement. To be fair I thought we were a little nervy in the first quarter for the game. The 3-0 reverse against Millwall was perhaps still in our minds. When Shaun Murphy scored after we couldn’t clear a corner, we had real battle on our hands. However, battle is what we did and when the equaliser came it lifted both players and supporters and jointly we turned things around. Izale’s goal was very well taken, and I’m happy that he’s now off the mark. He’d played a few games without reward and, as with most strikers, his confidence was beginning to suffer. The goal will do him the world of good and I’m sure it’ll be the first of many for the club.

The second half was much better, we played good football and ended the game the better side. Just a word about Deon Burton…he’s suffered more than most with injuries and it was great for both him and the club that he scored the 85th minute winner. He’s only just turned 26 yet it seems he’s been around the football scene for ages. He’d had a successful loan spell at Portsmouth that came to an end after his foot injury, we’re just glad he’s back and putting the ball in the back of the net! The league table makes for interesting reading – it’s so close. A couple of wins and we’re right up there, but a couple of losses and we’re looking at the wrong end of the table! Let’s hope that we can take advantage of Wednesday’s uncertainties and move up the table today. As club captain I’m looking forward to next few games, there’s been quite a number of players struggling with injury and it’s good to know that most should be returning soon. If we can continue to pick up points with a weakened squad, it puts us in a strong position for when all the boys are back. Winning a few games of the belt has been a problem for us this season, but given a full strength side I’m sure we’re more than capable of putting a run together. Winning matches breeds confidence and that’s what we intend to do.

Just a word about the financial problems at the club. A great deal has been written about Derby's players having to take a pay cut, although no decisions has yet to be taken by the players. We had a very positive meeting with the PFA about ten days ago. The club are asking us to defer a percentage of our salary. We’re due to speak with them and the PFA again next week and then we’ll decide what to do. All I can say is that we were fully paid both last and this month, we’re aware of the situation and will do all we can to work together for the good of everyone.

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