Phillip Cocu has ramped up the pressure on Huddersfield, insisting the Terriers are one of the Championship’s promotion favourites.
New Derby manager Cocu has insisted Jan Siewert’s Huddersfield 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 expectation on his Derby outfit.
Cocu will take charge of Derby for the first time in a competitive match on Monday, 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, develop the young players in the team.”
Arsenal capture Krystian Bielik and Brighton loan star Matt Clarke will be in the running to feature at Huddersfield, with Cocu still eyeing further recruits.
“We’ve worked quite some time getting in this player,” said Cocu, of 21-year-old Bielik.
“He can play as a holding midfielder and also as a centre-back, so he gives us even more options in the team.
“I think it’s a very good investment for the club. So I am very happy he has joined the team.”
Huddersfield boss Jan Siewert has insisted striker Karlan Grant will not be expected to spearhead the Terriers’ goal threat all on his own.
Grant has impressed across pre-season, but Siewert has moved to ease the pressure on the 21-year-old forward.
“I’m pretty sure that Karlan Grant will improve, he’s a striker that still has to learn, and he knows that,” 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.
“It’s been a very tough, intense summer.
“We had a really good pre-season with some good results and the following games will show where we are.
“We put in a lot of hard work in a physical way and a mental way. The players completely believed in what we were doing.”
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