Derby County boss wary of play-off upset

Steve McClaren has warned his Derby County side to be wary of Brighton & Hove Albion in the return leg of their play-off tie, despite having the advantage.

The Rams will enter the second leg at their iPro Stadium with a 2-1 advantage, after a Chris Martin penalty and a Tomasz Kuszczak own-goal cancelled out Jesse Lingard's opener. The Seagulls will be attempting to make history in their search for the Premier League, with no second tier side ever reaching the Wembley final having lost the home leg of the semi-finals.

Not only is history working against Oscar Garcia's men, but seasonal form also bodes will in Derby's favour - the Rams have won all three meetings with their south coast rivals this season. Although the odds are stacked highly in his favour, Derby boss Steve McClaren refused to be drawn in to a forgone conclusion.

Quoted in the Guardian, the former England boss said, "Brighton are not out of this.

"We know they have a good record away from home and they made it difficult in the game we played against them.

"We've got to be on the front foot. We can't sit back and relax like we did in the second half, we've got to take our game to them, get the crowd behind us and the players have to fight to maintain this result."

Despite the result, Brighton will take positives from their performance in the first leg, controlling the possession and recording five shots on target to Derby's one. Although it is likely that Garcia will set out his men to perform in the same manner, McClaren is confident that his side will capitalise.

"They can take risks, but we want them to. We are very quick and decisive on the counter-attack."

Brighton defender Inigo Calderon agreed with McClaren's view, stating that he believed the performance will mirror that of the first leg.

"We still have a chance and we will fight until the last second of the game.

"It's going to be more like the second half from the first leg. We've got to score one but they are going to play on the counter-attack. Hopefully it's going to be a good game for us."

With the game of vital importance to the seasons of both Brighton and Derby, the latter are hoping that their player of the year Craig Bryson will recover from a back injury sustained in the first leg, whilst Brighton are fretting over potential injuries to Will Buckley and Matt Upson.

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