Date: 23rd June 2012 at 2:05pm
Written by:

Nigel Clough believes that Derby County’s young guns have adapted well to life in the first-team after a number of academy graduates made the step-up last season and made big impacts on The Rams’ Championship campaign.

Jeff Hendrick was the prime example having impressed in pre-season and he forced his way into Clough’s plans making 39 starts and a further 4 appearances from the bench scoring three goals along the way including the winner at the City Ground in September as his side beat Nottingham Forest with only ten men.

Mark O’Brien also had a run in the side in the early weeks of the season before injury cut short his campaign and Callum Ball made eleven starts and a number of substitute appearances also chipping in with three goals. Clough has challenged the trio to improve again this season and make an impact in their second season in the side to show other promising youngsters at the club the road to the first-team telling dcfc.co.uk:

‘The improvement players have shown and how the likes of Jeff, OB and Bally have handed life in the Championship gives us all great hope that more can come in and do the same. They’ve all shown signs of development and they’ve improved as players in the last year because of the first-team experience they’ve had.”

‘We’re delighted with how the young lads have done; Mason Bennett and Will Hughes fall into that category as well and there’s more coming through the system as well.”