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 its 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 couldnt 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. Izales goal was very well taken, and Im happy that hes now off the mark. Hed 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 Im sure itll 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 Burtonhes suffered more than most with injuries and it was great for both him and the club that he scored the 85th minute winner. Hes only just turned 26 yet it seems hes been around the football scene for ages. Hed had a successful loan spell at Portsmouth that came to an end after his foot injury, were just glad hes back and putting the ball in the back of the net! The league table makes for interesting reading its so close. A couple of wins and were right up there, but a couple of losses and were looking at the wrong end of the table! Lets hope that we can take advantage of Wednesdays uncertainties and move up the table today. As club captain Im looking forward to next few games, theres been quite a number of players struggling with injury and its 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 Im sure were more than capable of putting a run together. Winning matches breeds confidence and thats 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. Were due to speak with them and the PFA again next week and then well decide what to do. All I can say is that we were fully paid both last and this month, were aware of the situation and will do all we can to work together for the good of everyone.

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