“I Wouldn’t Want…” – Derby County Makes Admission About Automatic Playoff Race

Derby County head coach Paul Warne has admitted that his side are in a good position to clinch automatic promotion to the Championship but has fired a warning to his players about getting complacent.

The Rams are on a four-match winning streak in League One and managed to come away with a pivotal three points on Saturday by beating fellow promotion hopefuls Bolton Wanderers at Pride Park to open up a four-point gap to the Trotters in third place.

Kane Wilson scored the only goal of the game in the 78th minute to seal the victory, keeping Warne’s side within five points of Portsmouth, setting up a mouth-watering tie in two weeks against Pompey at Fratton Park. The reverse fixture ended 1-1 in Derbyshire back in September with both goals coming in the final ten minutes.

This weekend, Derby County travel to Sixfields to take on Northampton Town. Both Bolton and Portsmouth’s matches have been rescheduled due to the upcoming international break, giving the Rams the chance to close the gap on top spot.

Speaking in the aftermath of Saturday’s crucial victory, Warne has stated that his men must remain focused if they are to avoid the unwanted lottery of the playoffs, having worked hard to earn their place inside the automatic promotion spots [quotes via Derbyshire Live]:

“We can enjoy the win, but we have to back it up.

“I know Bolton have an international break. I told them before the game when I knew the attendance was going to be so big, that they’ve created this. They’re not turning up to watch me or to have a really nice meal. They’re turning up because you’re a really good team and everyone is excited.

“We will see. I don’t know if it is big, big enough or too big. It’s no good thinking we have it sussed because we haven’t. We have to play better in games. I wouldn’t want to be playing Bolton home and away in the play-offs if I could help it. We just have to wash ourselves down, reassess it and go again at the weekend.

“There are 21 points left to play for. Does it give you a good position in the league to get automatic promotion? Of course it does, but I don’t think it means anything more than a win,” he continued.

“We’re always consistent with the lads – never too high, never too low, be consistent.”

Writer’s View

Derby County are on a hot vein of form at the moment and have managed to pick up speed in the title race at the perfect time. A win against Portsmouth at Fratton Park at the beginning of April could set up a nail-biting end to the campaign, just like last season.

However, before then, the Rams still have to face Northampton Town away followed by Blackpool at home, two teams who have spent large parts of the season in the top half of the League One table so picking up six points from six won’t be easy.


About Adam Scully 952 Articles
Deputy Head of Writing

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