Steve McClaren won’t give up on automatic promotion just yet

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren is banking on nerves at Burnley to keep the automatic promotion door open for his Derby side.

The Rams boss says Derby must win each of their remaining four games to have any chance of snatching second place from the Clarets.

While he is refusing to rule out automatic promotion, McClaren says his side must be focussed on securing a top six finish first and foremost, starting with victory at the Keepmoat tonight,

“We have got a hard weekend coming up (Rovers away, Barnsley home) and first we have to make sure we have got two feet in the play offs,” the former England boss said.

“It is about focus now – keeping focused in training, keeping focused in games.

“All I know is when you are going for championships or promotion, getting over the line is very difficult.

“Burnley need two wins from four games. If we needed two wins from four games to be certain of the play-offs, you can get a little nervous.

“We can only go and try and win our games.

“We need to win the four.”

Derby sit 11 points clear of seventh place with just 12 points available and trail Burnley by eight points.

Rams forward Johnny Russell is less confident about his side’s chances of a second place finish but wants Derby to build some momentum heading into the play-offs.

He said: “We don’t want to take our foot off the gas.

“We want to finish as high as we can and we’re not going to do that if we relax and think it’s already done.”

Winger Simon Dawkins (groin) could be back for Derby after a month out.

Former Rovers full back James O’Connor is missing for the Rams due to a long term thigh injury.