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Hendrick full of confidence at flying Rams

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Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick. Picture: Michael Regan/GETTY IMAGES

Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick. Picture: Michael Regan/GETTY IMAGES

Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick. Picture: Michael Regan/GETTY IMAGES

FRESH from putting the Wolves to the sword, Jeff Hendrick will head into a massive week of international football with confidence high after he helped his club move to the top of the Championship table.

Derby County boss Steve McClaren went so far as "thank" his players for the entertainment they served up in Saturday's 5-0 win over Wolves, and Coolock lad Hendrick played a part in the win by scoring two of the Rams' goals.

Hendrick missed a month of the season due to a shoulder injury which sidelined him for the Euro qualifier win over Georgia but he's been on form since his return, contributing three goals from his last four games to help the Rams attain leadership of their league.

INJURY

That injury - which occurred in front of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill who had gone to see the Derby-Ipswich Championship game on his scouting mission before the qualifying campaign started - knocked him off course but O'Neill will have been delighted to see Hendrick in free-scoring mode as he plans for that big test in Parkhead on Friday.

Giovanni Trapattoni was the man who handed Hendrick his debut at senior level but the Italian never seemed to really trust the man from St Kevin's Boys, but Martin O'Neill is a fan and Roy Keane also believes in the player, even name-checking Hendrick in his autobiography.

O'Neill can spring a surprise when he wants - omitting Wes Hoolahan to start Stephen Quinn away to Georgia - but while Darron Gibson made a claim for his place in Parkhead with a good display against Sunderland yesterday, Hendrick could be in the starting XI in what would be one of the biggest games of his career.

"I just wanted to get back to the way I was playing, getting forward, and it helps when we are all playing that way," says Hendrick, who has a good chance of starting in central midfield in Scotland on Friday due to the injury worry hanging over Glenn Whelan.

"With the two games we lost a week ago, we weren't happy and we wanted to get back to the way we play. On Saturday, we were all up for it and we really wanted to put down a marker. With us playing on TV and playing before the rest of the league, we wanted to put on a performance. Thankfully, we did that.

"We said we wanted to press them high, get the ball moving and get a lot of transitions in. We were delighted to get the goals when we did.

"At the end of all the games, everyone will check the scores that we have put on a good performance and got a good result. It will send out a real message."

"We were on the front foot, pressing them and we flooded a lot of men forward. The ball dropped to us and, thankfully, we have got a few goals and that's what we want.

"We have now got the international break, but we have to make sure that when we come back that it's the same sort of performance," added Hendrick.

McClaren's only request now is that Hendrick avoids injury this week and returns to aid the Rams' drive for a place in the Pfremier League.


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