Derby skipper fires warning to Town

DERBY County skipper Paul Connolly says Ipswich Town are not Real Madrid and that the Rams should take the game to them at Portman Road today.And Connolly will be happy with a 1-0 victory regardless of how well the Rams play.

Elvin King

DERBY County skipper Paul Connolly says Ipswich Town are not Real Madrid and that the Rams should take the game to them at Portman Road today.

And Connolly will be happy with a 1-0 victory regardless of how well the Rams play.

Last Saturday's 3-0 win victory over Sheffield Wednesday was the Rams' biggest league win under manager Paul Jewell.

It was also only their second clean sheet of the season, and former Plymouth player Connolly wants more of the same against the Blues today (kick-off 3pm).

When Derby won promotion under Billy Davies in 2006-7, they won 10 league matches 1-0 - a fact not lost on defender Connolly a former team-mate of Town midfielder David Norris.

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“Clean sheets will obviously always get you results,” he said.

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So if we can keep teams out, we have shown we have got the ability to score goals.

“If we grind out a 1-0 win at Ipswich, it doesn't matter how well we play, it's about getting results in this division.

“We need clean sheets to give ourselves a platform and the gaffer has told us we haven't had enough so far this season.”

Derby are now unbeaten in eight games at home and Connolly wants to see the team reproduce that kind of form on the road.

“If we keep playing like we are at home, not many teams can live with us,” he added.

“Ipswich are a very good side and are up there around the play-offs, but if we've got any aspirations of getting promoted, we need to be getting results against teams like Ipswich away.

“Away from home, you do tend to sit back. We were on the front foot against Sheffield Wednesday and we need to be on the front foot against Ipswich and take the game to them.

“At the end of the day, we are playing Ipswich, not Real Madrid. They are a good side but if we take the game to them, I'm sure we can get another result.”

Connolly praised goalkeeping duo Roy Carroll and Stephen Bywater, who are currently battling it out for the number one shirt.

“Roy's come in and it's hard on Stephen,” said the skipper.

“They're having their own little battle but I've got to say, I think we are blessed with two unbelievable keepers and it's a shame both of them can't play.”

Jewell's men have a Carling Cup quarter-final against Stoke to look forward to but the former Wigan manager will ensure that all eyes are on Portman Road and not potential cup glory.

The Rams have failed to win in their last three away matches losing to Reading and Blackpool and drawing with Coventry.