Clough took over in 2009, succeeding former Wigan Athletic manager Paul Jewell, resigning his post at Burton Albion, where he had been manager since 1998. Clough has had to steer Derby through some difficult waters during his tenure, most notably in the 2010/11 season where he oversaw a massive 37 different purchases or sales in just nine months as he restructured the playing squad removing the excesses of the previous regimes and building a better infrastructure going forward for the club. Up to this point, Clough has taken charge of 228 games as manager of Derby County, winning just 77 of those.
Derby's pre-season saw them lose out to Bolton Wanderers in the pursuit of Blackpool right-back Alex Baptiste, though they did succeed in bringing in Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant, as well as Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin on a free transfer from Norwich City. Striker Johnny Russell was brought in from Dundee United, along with Watford pair Craig Forsyth and John Eustace.
Transfers out included former England U21 keeper Frank Fielding, as well as key defender John Brayford who moved to Cardiff City in the Premier League for a reported £2m. Clough will have been pleased to keep hold of midfield starlet Will Hughes despite reported interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.
Derby County began the season proper in decent form with three wins, one loss, and two draws from their opening six matches with a 2-1 away win at Brighton being a particular highlight before their demolition of Millwall at the weekend. It was a match that the Rams won 1-5 on the road at the Den, a result that lifted Bolton off the bottom of the table on goal difference alone. Their home 0-3 defeat to Burnley at the end of August will want to be swiftly forgotten.
Wanderers have a so-so head-to-head record against Derby County, with 45 wins in 123 games - the first of which came back in 1888 and which brought about a 3-6 defeat for the Whites. Top scorer for Bolton against Derby is, unsurprisingly, Nat Lofthouse with nine goals.
Last Five Meetings
19.02.2013 - Derby County 1 v 1 Bolton Wanderers (Keogh OG)
21.08.2012 - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 0 Derby County (Kevin Davies, Chris Eagles)
02.01.2008 - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 0 Derby County (Stelios Giannakopoulos)
29.09.2007 - Derby County 1 v Bolton Wanderers (Nicolas Anelka)
16.03.2002 - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 3 Derby County (Ricardo Gardner)
Heart: Bolton Wanderers 2 v 0 Derby County (Chris Eagles, David Ngog)
Head: Bolton Wanderers 2 v 0 Derby County (Chris Eagles, David Ngog)
Derby are solid opponents, but we should ("should," read cautiously) have too much quality for them to handle. Home game wins are mandatory in this league and as we approach a time in the season where we face so-called lesser opposition then making sure that we have a run of victories is imperative. I believe we will beat Derby County but only because we have to beat them.