DerbyMad: Well George can we start out with who is and who isn’t available for Saturday?
George Burley: Well Marco Reich went off at half time last Saturday with a calf strain. He did some light training with the physio this morning and we will see what he is like tomorrow.
DM: Looking back at the Cup match are you pleased that you held a Premiership side to a draw or disappointed that you didn’t get a result?
GB: Well we were still in the hat on Monday and that was all that counted after playing a very good Premiership team so we are pleased still to be in it, but it would have been nice to go through first time. Yes we are pleased still to be there.
DM: The big news of the week was the transfer deal taking Tom Huddlestone to Spurs you wouldn’t expect him to walk straight into a Premiership side?
GB: Well Tom is going to be here until the end of the season, which is very important to us. Tom is a young lad who has tremendous quality and ability. It is a tremendous move for Tom and I think through time he will become a full international player.
DM: How does he compare with some of those players that you brought through at Ipswich as far as quality goes?
GB: Oh he is right up there. Tom has qualities that people like Kieran Dyer and Titus Bramble and Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent haven’ got. He is a real top class player as far as his passing ability and his touch on the ball and his vision and his football brain. He is 18. Since I came here he’s played virtually every game in the last 18 months. And he just turned 18 only a month ago. Which shows you just how highly I rate him and how well he has progressed in the last year and a half.
DM: How difficult will he be to replace?
GB: Well you don’t replace Tom Huddlestone. Life goes on. But the reality outside the Premiership is that virtually every club is in the same boat. If the right offer comes in for a player it is unfortunate that the club has to look at it.
DM: Let’s look at the immediate reality, which is Saturdays’ game at Brighton. After climbing into the playoff zone and holding Premiership Fulham in the Cup it is back down to earth with a bump for the trip to the Withdean.
GB: Every game is just as important. The league is your bread and butter. It was great to do well in the FA Cup. The reality of the matter is that we need o win in order to keep in the top 6. So we have go to go there here the surroundings are a little bit different from Pride Park. But Brighton are a strong side. I saw them play against Sheffield United when thy won 2 – 1. Very competitive and powerful. I think that they are unbeaten in the last 6 so it is going to be a tough game.
DM: Given Derby’s’ current away record and the fact that it was a fairly comprehensive defeat of Brighton earlier in the season is the hardest job going to be to keep the players level headed rather than have to build them up?
GB: Nobody here thinks that it is going to be an easy game. I’ve just mentioned Brightons’ record. They have improved since they played us earlier in the season. The wen and drew at Elland Road last week. It will be a tough game. In this league anybody can beat anyone else. So we have to be at our very best to gel a result.
DM: Presumably now that you have made it into the playoff places there is a feeling that you are not going to give it up easily.
GB: Yes I think that there is a good feeling amongst the squad. There is a lot of ability. You can see that they are all working for each other. Hopefully we can keep it going. But this league is very competitive. It is nice to be where we are but we know that things can change quickly. So we will have to be very keyed in and concentrated for our visit to Brighton.