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Mixed fortunes - 11/11/2002

   Derby County

Winning two games on the trot has been a difficult task for us this season. In beating both the Sheffield clubs in the space a few days has been very rewarding, we’re received a real confidence boost and it’s pleasing to see that the league table looks a little bit healthier than of late. To be honest, I was worried that this was turning into a bit of a hoodoo for us – just like Newcastle’s unsuccessful visits to London! So getting the win allowed us to bury those thoughts!

However, after doing so well against the Sheffield sides, we let it slip against Portsmouth. We got off to a flyer and I was confident we could make it three on the bounce. Unfortunately Pompey came right back at us, I have to say they were impressive and I can see why they are top of the table. Their play, especially in the final third was exceptional, Harry Redknapp has developed a team of flair and experience and I think they’ve got what it takes to stay up at the top. Having said that we came back at them and during the last fifteen minutes I genuinely felt that they were just hanging on.

So it’s been two wins out of the last three games, and looking at the season so far, I’m sure we’ve got everything to play for. We’ve faced Portsmouth, Leicester, and a lot of the other sides above us, we’re not a million miles away from any of these teams. With about two thirds of the season yet to come I’m confident we can achieve atleast a play-off place. Don’t forget we’ve had quite a few injury problems, and it was great see Rava getting back on the pitch. If we can start to turn our draws into wins, it’ll make a massive difference – that’s certainly something to look at. When the squad’s fit we’ll be in a very healthy situation to move up the table and I’m confident we’ll be there or thereabouts when the season draws to a close. It’s Brighton up next, and although they’ve struggled this term, there are a few signs that they may have turned a corner. We won’t be taking it for granted and we know that any points will be won by hard work and commitment – we’re not frightened of that!

I’d also like to pay my respects to the family of Rob Hindmarsh. I never had the pleasure of meeting Rob, although the John Gregory and Ross McClaren speak highly of him, and it’s a tragedy that he should leave us at such a young age. Sometimes the intensity of football is brought into perspective, this is such an occasion.

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