Five games, no wins: McClaren suggests crunch period is yet to arrive for Derby

Derby County stadium entrance

Derby County boss Steve McClaren is focused on after the international break, which he feels is the crunch period of his team's season.

Derby County manager Steve McClaren has told the club’s website that he feels the Rams are yet to hit crunch time in the promotion race for the Premier League.

Derby are on a poor run of form, which has seen them slide down to fifth in the Championship with only two points gained in their last five matches.

However, with the side not out of touch with the top two (currently a five point gap), the boss has suggested what he feels will be the crucial period for the team.

“People say we have one of the best squads and we do but we just have eight or nine of them in the treatment room at the moment,” said the manager.

“After the international break, though, everybody should be back and then the last seven games will be interesting.”

Derby have more reasons than most teams to want to avoid the play-offs because of the way they dominated the final last season at Wembley, before QPR scored late to go up.

The side needs to try and react well and prevent the gap getting any bigger against Wolves this weekend.

The international break is going to be a vital period for Derby and not just because it provides more time for players to return from injury problems.

It provides the boss with extra time to analyse what’s been going wrong and where his team can look to further improve over the rest of the season.

Five games is a long run to go on without a victory, simply to blame on injury problems.

It could be the case that opponents are exploiting a weakness, but regardless, McClaren needs to make sure the Rams are perfect over the rest of the season to secure a top two position.

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