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Michael Taylor 19th Jan 2009 - 22:10

Clough's Wembley ambitions seem unrealistic

Nigel Clough may have landed his dream job after being appointed as Derby County's manager but his first big match in charge could turn out to be a nightmare.

Clough watched from the Pride Park stands as Derby came away from the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final match against Man Utd with a valuable 1-0 win and, now he has officially taken over the reigns, nobody can blame him for targeting an amazing final appearance at Wembley.

His first match in his new position saw a radical change in team selection as Giles Barnes made his first start in eleven months, however the 2-0 home loss against QPR was more of the same for long suffering Rams fans - yet Clough is still confident of gaining a legendary cup-upset.

However, the former Burton Albion manager could be in for a rude awakening when he travels to Old Trafford for the second leg, especially after United's embarrassing performance in the first leg.

Sir Alex Ferguson was in disbelief in his post-match interview at Pride Park, stating his team's shocking lack of creativity and Derby's inability to put the tie beyond United's reach as his main motivation.

And it is the latter reason that will come back to bite the Rams, as United, albeit their second team, look good to give a lesson in punishing any mistakes.

The Red Devils are a 1/7 shot to win the second leg, but represent better value at 1/5 to qualify for the final, while Derby are hard to back, even for qualification at 10/3.

Sir Alex is set to hand a debut to Serbian international Zoran Tosic following his £8 million signing from Partizan Belgrade, while Carlos Tevez should continue up-front following his great Carling Cup form.

The tricky Argentine is a great 11/4 shot to bag the first goal of the game and in the process bring transfer negotiations back in his favour.

Derby unfortunately have the Carling Cup's leading scorer missing after Nathan Ellington suffered a groin injury in training, but Kris Commons is in the squad and will be hoping for a repeat of his first leg wonder strike.

Commons is a great value 7/1 chance to score in the 90 minutes, although it seems unlikely that Man Utd will be so generous in defence this time around.

United have gone ten Premier League games without conceeding a goal, equalling Chelsea's record, and you have to fancy them adding a cup clean sheet to that record against Derby.

With this in mind the 11/2 about a 2-0 Man Utd win could bring the best value on the correct score market, although a goal fest is not out of the question with 8/1 about 4-0 having an inticing look.

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