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Interview with an away fan: Derby County

16th in the table with 28 points - happy with the start as we approach Christmas?

When you put it like that, no. We did actually start the season exceptionally well, with six wins in the opening eight league games. Whilst we were never going to maintain that sort of standard, nobody expected results to fall away to the extent that they have.

Nigel Clough took some abuse last year while in charge, but the board stuck by him. Was it the correct decision and what are your thoughts on him?

The good thing is, Clough has actually been around for long enough for fans to form a fairly good impression of who he is and what he's about. The previous few managers have come and gone quickly, leaving nothing but trouble in their wake.

On the surface, Clough comes across as fairly measured and reserved, but at times, he betrays far more intense characteristics. Still waters run deep.

The public barracking of Tomasz Cywka last season, after Clough felt the young Pole was to blame for a last-minute Pompey equaliser, upset a lot of fans and caused the club some embarrassment, with PFA boss Gordon Taylor commenting on the situation. Last week, he gave Jeff Hendrick a bit of a rocket, but his ameliorating comments in the week suggest that he, or someone else at the club, has learned from his previous mistakes.

Throughout his tenure, Clough's teams have played really well in spells, but consistency has proved to be beyond his ken. I attribute that to a lack of squad depth, problems with injuries and the competitive nature of the division. For now, though, the injuries seem to have cleared up and everyone therefore expects an upturn in results in the second half of the season - hopefully, starting on Boxing Day.

W1, D1, L1 in the past three games. How have you been playing lately?

We've actually been playing quite well in recent weeks, but haven't been able to put the ball in the net. The return of Theo Robinson therefore comes at a good time and we also have a new signing, effectively, in Nathan Tyson (he joined in summer, but has only just got fit after two groin operations).

After our game, we will be half-way through the season, where do you see yourselves finishing?

I predicted 12th at the start of the season and will stick with that, although I actually think we could do a bit better - which sounds strange, given that we've only won two of the last 14 games, but there you are.

Who do Leeds fans need to watch out for on Boxing Day?

Of our forwards, Jamie Ward has the ability to turn a game with a moment of skill, Theo Robinson has raw pace, Callum Ball has physical presence and 15-year old Mason Bennett is on the cusp of proving himself to be a genuine star. It depends on who Clough picks - he actually has options, for once, as almost everyone is available.

What will the atmosphere be like within Pride Park, have the crowds been good this year?

Crowds have dipped as the season has progressed, but the nature of the opposition and the fact that it's Boxing Day means that the ground will be near-to full and the fans will be bang up for it. If we can replicate the rocking atmosphere of the same fixture last year, which we deservedly won, then it should be a memorable day - for us, at least!

What formation do you expect Clough to go with on Monday?

Good question. He's persisted with a 4-5-1 recently, which has led to plenty of possession and the general appearance of solidity, but not enough goals. However, that shape has in part been to do with a lack of fit strikers. With Robinson and Tyson now available, along with loanee Priskin and young Ball, it is very possible that we could change to 4-4-2.

If you could sign any Leeds player who would it be?

I haven't seen much of Leeds lately, so am not too up on your squad, to be honest. We could do with a winger, so Robert Snodgrass might come in handy. Thanks!

Big thanks to Ollie for an insight into Derby County ahead of the game on Monday. You can follow him on Twitter here, or check out his blog.