SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Clough predicts Pride Park cracker after Capital Cup of contrasts

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DERBY County are bidding to hit the Owls with a backlash after suffering that incredible defeat against Scunthorpe.

Manager Nigel Clough also hopes that having to play for two hours on Tuesday, twice losing a three-goal lead and going out of the Capital One Cup on penalties will not have undermined his team’s mental and physical preparation for today’s clash with Wednesday at Pride Park.

He said: “I’m sure Sheffield Wednesday will be pleased we have played 120 minutes on Tuesday, and pleased that we are disappointed having lost on penalties, because it does knock you back.

“If you play the 120 minutes and win, it is a different feeling.

“Wednesday came from behind to win their cup tie and we threw away a lead to lose ours. It should be a hell of a game!”

Derby led 3-0 and 4-1 but conceded two goals in injury time and drew 5-5, then went out 7-6 in a shoot-out. The Owls trailed 2-0 at Oldham but won 4-2.

Clough also said: “Sheffield Wednesday will come here on a high following their cup win.

“Promoted sides are always buzzing and Sheffield Wednesday are back in the Championship where many people believe they should be, at least.”

Like Dave Jones, Clough thinks that the division will be tougher than ever. His team finished 12th last season, their highest position for 12 years. He said: “Ask me to pick a top three and a bottom three this season and I’d say it is more difficult than ever. I think the division is stronger now.

“All the promoted sides have strengthened and the relegated sides seem to have hung on to the majority of their players. But we hope to imoprove.”