Paul Clement: February crucial for Derby County

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Clement 'glad to see back of January'

Derby County head coach Paul Clement says February is a crucial month for his promotion-chasing side.

The Rams were top of the Championship on Boxing Day, but are now seven points behind leaders Hull City and are without a league win in five matches.

Clement, whose side host Preston on Tuesday, told BBC East Midlands Today: "It's a massive month for us. We've got to have a really good, strong month.

"We are glad to see the back of January with performances and results."

Since their Boxing Day win over Fulham, Derby have lost to Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Burnley, while drawing with Leeds and Reading.

The Rams also bowed out of the FA Cup with a fourth-round defeat at Manchester United last Friday.

"We are going to try and be robust defensively," continued Clement.

"We have lost our way with our defending as a team recently. We've conceded a lot of goals.

"That wasn't a characteristic of our team in the early months and that's something we will have to get right."