Clough ascendant in rising sons' battle

Derby County 4 Peterborough Utd 1
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The Independent Online

If you believe that life events shape a person's character, then you can perhaps understand how Nigel Clough and Darren Ferguson have turned out the way they are: brothers-in-arms in choosing the career followed by famously successful fathers, but quite unlike each other in what they each recognise as satisfactory progress.

Neither lacks ambition, but whereas Clough is prepared to reach his goals one small step at a time, Ferguson has no such patience. His Peterborough team has leapt from League Two to the Championship in two seasons and he sees no reason why he should not take them into the Premier League.

It is an intriguing difference, given that each carries the paternal genes of a driven competitor. Sir Alex's hunger is clearly replicated in Darren. By contrast, Brian used to despair sometimes that Nigel, having found an agreeable work-life balance at Burton Albion, was too easily contented.

Maybe the sharpness of their appetites is down to how far they went as players, the intensity of their desires now, perhaps, inversely proportionate to fulfilment on the field.

Nigel spent his career at the top level, with a £2.75m price tag when he joined Liverpool in 1993. Darren, on the other hand, was a journeyman, sold by his father for £250,000 in 1994 to spend the rest of his career in the lower divisions,

All that might be nonsense, but what is true is that the question of what their teams might achieve this year elicits a starkly different answer.

Clough, asked to describe a satisfactory campaign ahead of Saturday's kick-off, spoke of "a good steady season ... with signs that we are improving. We would love to think we can be up there but it's such a tight division, a couple of wins can be the difference between top eight and bottom eight."

Contrast that with Ferguson on Saturday evening. "Other people might think it is completely mental and mad when I say Peterborough can get in the Premiership," he said. "But that's up to them. I know what I've got in the dressing room and I'm not interested in finishing in mid-table. I want to try to get in the Premiership, otherwise I wouldn't be here."

In the event, it was Clough, just about, who had the greater cause for optimism. His side had injuries to contend with, but punished Peterborough's tentative start with a headed goal from the defender Miles Addison after four minutes, and responded to conceding an equalising penalty by scoring again three minutes from the end, when winger Gary Teale stabbed home at a corner.

Not that Ferguson saw any reason to dilute his expectations. "Some of my lads were playing non-league football two years ago but some of them will play at the top level," he said. "It is a step up in physical terms but it is a mental thing, too, a matter of believing in yourself."

Derby County (4-5-1): Bywater; Connolly, Addison, Buxton, Moxey; Croft (Pringle, 80), Green (Commons, h-t), Savage, Pearson, Teale; Davies (McEveley, 90). Substitutes not used: Deeney (gk), Varney, Mendy, O'Brien.

Peterborough United (4-4-2): Lewis; Lee, Morgan, Zakuani, Williams; Rowe (Batt, 63), Keates (Frecklington, 53), Coutts, Boyd; McLean, Mackail-Smith. Substitutes not used: McKeown (gk), Martin, Diagouraga, Pearce, Day.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).

Booked: Derby Buxton; Peterborough Keates, Batt, Boyd.

Man of the match: Addison.

Attendance: 33,010.

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