Consistent side the key for Clough

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Derby were able to name an unchanged side for the first time this season against Newcastle - and the Rams boss believes that is the reason for his side's recent upturn in form.

Clough named the same XI that started the 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane against the Magpies and he felt it was the best start his side had made to a game since his appointment as manager 13 months ago.

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"To be able to name an unchanged side for the first time at the start of February tells you about some of the problems we've had," said Clough after watching his side beat Newcastle 3-0 at Pride Park.

He added: "All we've been trying for is a settled side and some consistency.

"Hopefully for the second half of the season most of our better players will stay fit because we don't mind playing anyone when we get our best side out, or close to it.

"Anyone who has seen us for the last few weeks would say a result like that has been coming. It's reward for all the hard work in the last few weeks. The first 15-20 minutes were as well as we've played since I've been here."

County beat East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest 11 days ago and followed that result up with another impressive performance against Sheffield United on Saturday, when they were only denied victory by a controversial injury-time equaliser.

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