It was a 10-year apprenticeship, but Nigel Clough has finally made it into league management with Championship strugglers Derby County.
Over 36 years after his late father Brian won the Division One title with the Rams his son has been installed at the helm and with it a vast amount of expectation on his young shoulders.
Clough, 42, has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Rams to become Paul Jewell’s permanent replacement, leaving Burton to take over at Pride Park.
Clough left the runaway Blue Square Premier leaders after a decade in charge and with the Brewers all set for league football, but who could deny Clough junior a chance to manage higher up the ladder?
His father Brian managed the Rams between 1967 and 1973 – winning the league title in 1972 – and Clough junior has admitted the club has always meant a lot to him.
Clough senior also went on to manage their deadly rivals Nottingham Forest for 18 years, where he won the European Cup twice, and Nigel made more than 300 appearances for the Reds himself.
It was an appointment which did not totally come out of the blue and a chance that was too good to turn down.
Derby are currently in 18th spot – just five points off relegation and Clough’s first job will be to make sure the Rams are not in any danger of the drop come May.
And if things go well early on he might even start looking at the play-offs, but with 12 points to make up on sixth place even football odds of 28.0 about the season ending in promotion might not tempt the most ardent of fans.
Clough though, like any other manager, will need time for the players to adapt to his methodical style – however his famous name might just give him the time he requires to turn the club around.
Sure he will be compared to his father, but he’s his own man and already he has displayed his shrewdness by avoiding taking charge of Wednesday’s Carling Cup tussle with Manchester United.
His first game in charge will be on Saturday when Derby travel to face Cardiff, with academy director David Lowe at the helm for the Carling Cup semi-final first leg against United, but Clough might just give him a few pointers having grabbed a draw with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men when boss of Burton back in 2006.
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