“It’s Been A Tough Week” – Derby County Boss Reflects On Recent Form

Derby County manager Paul Warne was relieved to return to winning ways after securing a comfortable 3-0 win over Port Vale yesterday afternoon.

The Rams had lost their last two outings but were let off the hook, with fellow automatic promotion-hopefuls Bolton Wanderers also experiencing a pair of defeats. However, dropped points had opened up an opportunity for the chasing pack, allowing Barnsley to close the gap on the top three.

A home clash against a team fighting to remain in the division was just the medicine the doctor ordered, and it took just five minutes for the East Midlands outfit to take the lead through Louie Sibley. New signing Dwight Gayle scored his first goal for the club just before half time before Sibley bagged his second of the game just before the hour mark.

It proved to be an important result, with Bolton and Barnsley also securing the three points, as well as fifth-placed Peterborough United. Speaking after the game, Warne revealed it has been a tough week at Pride Park. Speaking to official club media, he said:

“It’s been a tough week. Everybody feels back-to-back defeats and you want to put on a performance, first and foremost, but it’s about winning games.

“It is no surprise to me that everybody in the top six (five) won today and that’s why they are in the top six. We needed a win though, there’s no disputing that.

“We started really well and then sort of came off it a little bit and that gives the opposition confidence. We had a ten minute spell where we weren’t at our best, but fortunately we did enough. To get the second goal before half-time was a boost.

“In the second half we were a lot better and should have scored more goals. A lot of success came from our wing-backs today and the back three were pretty solid. We needed a win with ten games left.”

Derby have been on the hunt for a new striker all season after losing talisman David McGoldrick to Notts County last summer. The arrival of Gayle was fortunate following his departure from Stoke City, but Warne was quick to praise the veteran:

“I think he’s scored in every league now, which is very impressive. It was a great ball in and his movement was clever.

“You are only ever as good as your number one and number nine and if your number nine can get a goal off a cross, then it takes the pressure off and it was needed. I’m really pleased for Dwight, he looks a little bit sharper.”

The two-time English champions travel to Bristol Rovers next weekend, although all eyes are on the potentially season-defining clash with Bolton later this month.

Writer’s View

Portsmouth aside, it’s starting to become congested at the top of League One as a number of teams set their sights on the Championship. Derby are in the driving seat at the moment, although it is only goal difference which is keeping them in the top two.

Bolton have a game in hand which would see them leapfrog the Rams into second, which means that Warne will be urging his team to continue this winning mentality in the coming weeks. The Trotters could come unstuck on Tuesday night though when they travel to Oakwell to take on Barnsley.

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