Derby County can survive believes former boss Nigel Clough as Rams’ relegation showdown looms
Mansfield Town's former Derby County boss Nigel Clough believes his old club can survive as the Rams prepare for tomorrow's mouthwatering Championship relegation showdown with rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
But anything could still happen with Rotherham United also in the equation and two of those three clubs facing League One football next season.
“I think Derby can do it,” said Clough.
“They go into it probably only needing a draw - and I think you'd always back yourself at home to avoid defeat. But I think it will be tight.
“Rotherham have given themselves a chance. If Rotherham go ahead it will be very interesting for and Derby and Sheffield Wednesday as then they are going to have to win. It will be a very interesting scenario.”
Clough said Derby were one of several big game clubs that have surprised many by their poor seasons.
“I am surprised to see Derby there with their resources. I don't think anyone expected them to be down there,” he said.
“But it's the same with Sheffield Wednesday, although they lost the six points (a six point deduction for financial irregularities) and would have been safe without that.
“So you have to look at bigger things, more than the football.
“But they should still have been able to withstand that six points deduction and still be safe.
“They are two very, very big clubs. You look at the bottom half of the Championship and there are some huge clubs down there who have been in and around relegation and it doesn't reflect too well on the running of their clubs.”
Derby are favourites to stay up, being the side just outside the bottom three and at home in the crunch showdown with rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday lunchtime.
Wayne Rooney's side are on 43 points and Rotherham are on 41 with Wednesday on 40.
Rotherham have the best goal difference with -16 compared to Derby's -22 and the Owls' -21.
Three points guarantees Derby survival and relegates Wednesday and Rotherham.
The Millers have to win in their tough trip to Cardiff to stand any chance of survival. A point would be no good.
If ex-Stag Paul Warne's side win and Derby draw with the Owls, the Millers stay up at the other two clubs' expense.
For Wednesday, they must win at Pride Park and hope Rotherham slip up in Wales to seal a great escape for a team handicapped by that six-point deduction.