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Thursday 21 November 2019

Terriers are top dogs claims Cocu

PLAY-OFF AIM: Phillip Cocu. Pic: PA
PLAY-OFF AIM: Phillip Cocu. Pic: PA

Phillip Cocu has ramped up the pressure on Huddersfield, insisting the Terriers are one of the Championship's promotion favourites.

New Derby boss Cocu says Jan Siewert's side are odds-on for an immediate return to the Premier League following last term's relegation.

The former Holland midfielder has taken the baton at the Rams from new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, and moved to dampen Derby expectations.

Cocu leads Derby for the first time in a competitive match tonight as the Rams make the trip to Huddersfield, with the 48-year-old claiming another play-off campaign is the Pride Park club's target.

"Huddersfield are one of the favourites for promotion," said Cocu.

"They have a lot of quality in the team. They manage the ball very well, are well organised and have good speed in attack.

"I think you have to be realistic, especially when looking at other teams. Our objective has to be reaching the play-offs.

"It's not only this one goal we're setting. We're developing the style of play, developing the young players in the team."

Arsenal capture Krystian Bielik and Brighton loan star Matt Clarke could feature at Huddersfield, with Cocu still eyeing further recruits.

"We've worked quite some time getting in this player," said Cocu, of Bielik, 21. "He can play as a holding midfielder and as a centre-back, so he gives us more options. It's a very good investment for the club. I am very happy he has joined the team."

Siewert says striker Karlan Grant will not be expected to spearhead the Terriers' goal threat all on his own.

Grant, 21, has impressed in pre-season but Siewert wants to ease the pressure on him.

"I'm pretty sure Grant will improve, he's a striker that still has to learn," said Siewert. "It's not all on his shoulders though, we have good possibilities to score other goals. I'm confident, because we're all there to help him and to score."

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