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Cheering from the stands - 04/03/2003

Suspensions have seen me miss both home games against our East Midlands rivals this season. I had to sit out the Nottingham Forest clash in October and will be watching the Leicester City match tonight as I start a two-match ban. It is a real blow because it would be nice to get revenge over Leicester for beating us at the Walkers Stadium earlier this season.

We dominated the first half and played some good football, but Leicester were more direct and powerful in the second half. We could not handle it and lost 3-1. Many people expected Leicester to do well this season and the fact they have kept most of their players has helped them. They sold Robbie Savage, but the likes of Muzzy Izzet, Matt Elliott and Ian Walker are all still there. How they have done that, I'm not sure because some of our players had to leave when the club received big bids. The likes of Izzet, Elliott, Walker, Brian Deane, Gerry Taggart, Frank Sinclair and Andy Impey have been round the block a few times and that can get you a long way in this division. Manager Micky Adams did a good job at both Fulham and Brighton, and must take a lot of credit for keeping the Leicester players focused despite what has been going on behind the scenes. If they do bounce straight back to the Premiership, and that looks likely, it will be a fine achievement. But let's hope they have to wait until after tonight to add to their points tally.

Our performances must drive the manager and supporters bananas at times. It was certainly the case against Burnley at Turf Moor a week ago. We were appalling in the first 25 minutes. We gave Burnley a two-goal lead and you cannot do that in this or any division. It was another of those slow starts, something we have been guilty of in recent games.

But we were much better in the second-half. We were more aggressive, passed the ball better and showed that we can play. It was just a pity we could not find the goals we needed to take something from the game. It was frustrating for everybody, and that's the way it has been this season. Our supporters behind the goal at Burnley were understandably unhappy at half-time and let us know. We were fully aware of their frustration and annoyance, and as players you have take the criticism as well as the praise.

The manager told us to get back out there, to show some pride and play for those fans. That's what we tried to do and Paul Boertien epitomised the effort because he was covered in blood afterwards. It is a shame we did not have some of that in the first half. To be fair to Burnley, they put a lot into the first-half and closed us down quickly. They never gave Giorgi Kinkladze or Rob Lee much time in midfield. The two goals that we had conceded were also down to us. The first was a long clearance, a flick-on and they score. One of us in the back four should be able to deal with that. Burnley's second goal came from a mistake. Those things can happen, but it happened at a bad time for us.

I would like to mention Adam Murray who came on at half-time and showed tremendous attitude and commitment. Adam has been knocking on the first-team door for a while now. Those who have watched the Reserves will know that he's been putting in some good performances. He has had to be patient, as the likes of Steve Elliott had to be at the beginning of the season. Adam did well in the first team early on and maybe not so well on one or two other occasions. But he has a lot of potential, and a lot going for him.

Derby Evening Telegraph

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