Blackwell hails Darius brace
Kevin Blackwell had nothing but praise for Darius Henderson following the striker's brace against Derby.
Last Updated: 14/03/09 6:51pm
Kevin Blackwell had nothing but praise for Darius Henderson following the striker's brace against Derby, while Rams boss Nigel Clough lamented his side's defensive frailties following the 4-2 defeat.
Henderson, who has replaced the departed James Beattie as United's target man, was a persistent thorn in County's side and was deserving of his two-goal salvo.
The goals were his first in a barren run stretching back seven games and his manager has now backed him for more between now and the campaign's close.
"He's got a massive role," Blackwell said of Henderson.
"He holds the ball up, he's a real threat and it was always going to be a very difficult job to fill Beattie's boots.
"He looked a real threat today."
David Cotterill set up first-half strikes for Kyle Naughton and Henderson before United held off a second-half fight back from County.
The winger went on to lay-on another after the break and his performance also pleased Blackwell.
"Strikers thrive on service so it's important that your wide men give it," he added.
"They have got to take a kicking sometimes to go past people but their end product is to get crosses in so I'm pleased for Cotterill today - he worked his socks off."
Blackwell's counterpart Clough lamented Derby's defensive frailties but conceded the final score was a fair reflection of the game.
It was his third loss in 11 league games since he emulated his father Brian by taking the Rams reins on 8th January.
"Until we can defend at a reasonable level, then that's going to be the pattern I'm afraid," he said.
"We have to improve to try and make it a little harder for the opposition to score.
"The first three from our point of view were very, very poor goals."
Clough has limited options in his back line at present, with Paul Connolly, Andy Todd, Lewin Nyatanga and Martin Albrechtsen the only fit defenders, and he is attempting to dip into the loan market.
"We've been trying for a couple of weeks but most people are fighting for something at this stage of the season and it's difficult getting them in, but we're trying," added Clough.
"But limited options are no excuse for the manner in which we defended today."