Emphasis on youth is paying off for boss Clough
THERE are some striking similarities between the job Nigel Clough has done at Derby County and the one Derek McInnes is doing at Bristol City.
Charged with the task of cutting a Premier League-inflated wage bill when first he arrived at Pride Park four seasons ago, Clough has moved on all of the high earners from that period, gradually replacing them with a mixture of cheaper signings and young academy products.
That he has managed to slash outgoings and keep the Rams safely in mid-table during that time represents a considerable achievement, one McInnes is hoping to emulate at Ashton Gate.
Although Derby are a formidable force at Pride Park, their recent record away from home will give City cause for optimism. They have lost their last four games on the road, at Peterborough, Millwall, Crystal Palace and Leicester, but registered a confidence-boosting 3-1 home win over Leeds United last time out.
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However, victory came at a cost, with the Rams losing influential centre-back Jake Buxton to injury. Richard Keogh's regular partner at the heart of the back four, Buxton is expected to be out of action for at least a month.
Mark O'Brien came on for Buxton for the final 11 minutes and is expected to fill in against City.
Left-back Gareth Roberts remains touch-and-go and James O'Connor again stands by to deputise.
Craig Bryson could recover from a knee problem in time to travel.
Teenage midfielder Will Hughes missed training earlier this week after receiving a kick on the ankle against Leeds, but is expected to be fit to face City.