League Insider - Clough
Rob Parrish welcomes Derby's decision to hand manager Nigel Clough a new long-term contract.
Last Updated: 24/10/11 11:30am
The name Clough will always be synonymous with Derby, but now it is Nigel, rather than his late, great, father Brian who is guiding the Rams.
On top of their impressive start to the new Championship season, Derby fans now have additional cause for celebration following the confirmation that Clough and his backroom staff have signed new deals committing them to the club until the summer of 2015.
Rumours that the Pride Park boss could further follow in his father's footsteps by joining local Championship rivals Nottingham Forest can now be firmly put to bed, with Steve Cotterill installed in the hot-seat at the City Ground and Clough extending his contract with Derby.
The new season is still taking shape, with Tuesday's trip to Reading marking the 12th outing of another marathon 46 game campaign, but the Midlands club are well placed in fourth spot in the table, just three adrift of leaders Southampton following Saturday's 1-1 draw between the duo.
And there is now genuine belief among the Derby faithful that a change in fortunes is finally on the horizon, four seasons on from when they slipped out of the Premier League as the laughing stock of English football with just 11 points to their name.
The next three weeks could prove pivotal, with five games being packed into the schedule between now and November 5th, including contests against Middlesbrough, Cardiff and Portsmouth, with Clough and his troops determined to avoid a repeat of last season when early promise gave way to a relegation scrap and a disappointing 19th-place finish.
Some trigger-happy clubs would perhaps have dispensed with the 45-year-old's services during their difficulties of last term, but the importance of stability - which is so often overlooked in modern day football - has clearly registered with the Rams hierarchy.
Chief executive Tom Glick and chairman Andy Appleby clearly share Clough's long-term view, with the former Burton boss spending a decade with the Brewers in his only previous job in management before leaving them well placed to secure promotion to the Football League.
On top of bringing through emerging talent from the club's academy, Clough was given the backing to make a number of permanent signings over the summer, including the likes of Frank Fielding, Jason Shackell, Jamie Ward and Craig Bryson.
Glick told the club's official website: "Our commitment to Nigel and his team has been consistent throughout, as we have always seen the incredible work taking place behind the scenes, with all levels of the club improving under his leadership."
Clough is level-headed enough to admit that his tenure to date has not always been plain sailing, but he believes that there are real reasons for the club's supporters to be cautiously optimistic at their current progress.
He admitted: "When we started this journey in January 2009 we knew it would be a bit bumpy along the way as we looked to move various players on and wait for the youngsters to come through the Academy.
"We will try to stick to the principles we've tried to implement, not always successfully, over the last two-and-a-half years to get the sort of honesty we are seeing out on the pitch at the moment.
"That's the mentality we want right the way through the club. We know we've not made it yet, but we're going in the right direction."
With the backing of his board and the security of a long-term contract, the Derby boss now has a genuine opportunity to emulate one stage of his father's success and guide the Rams from the second tier and back into the top flight.