Ismaël intent on earning festive victory at Derby

Ismaël pre-Derby

Valérien Ismaël is determined to deliver the perfect late Christmas present for Albion fans by winning at Derby County on December 27 (ko 3pm).

The Baggies, who are on a five-game unbeaten run, head to Pride Park to face the Rams on Monday after the game was moved from Boxing Day for live Sky Sports broadcast.

Ismaël’s men have clawed ground back on the top two in the Sky Bet Championship over the last few weeks, picking up seven points from the last nine on offer. 

And the boss believes three more in the East Midlands would be the best way to celebrate what he describes as a “magical time of year”.

He said: “It’s really important for us to get a late Christmas present at Derby on Monday.

“We have to improve our conversion rate and stay strong defensively.

“We know where we are struggling at the moment but we are working on it every day to try and improve.

“We need to get the confidence in front of goal.

“We are stable, but we have to now try and win with consistency.

“I really enjoy Christmas. I am Catholic so Christmas is always a really big and special event for me and my family. It’s a magical time of year.

“When we heard about our Boxing Day game at Derby being moved to the Monday, we decided to let the guys have Christmas with their families and get them in for training on Boxing Day.

“We are now at half-time in the season. We have played 23 games and have 23 games to play. 

“We are four points from the top and two points off the top two which is a ticket to the Premier League. 

“I think we are in a good place.

“The January window is arriving soon and we know exactly what we have to do.

“I said to the guys, for sure we were frustrated after Barnsley, but when you look at the overall picture we are in a good place.

“Now it’s about showing more desire and getting the reward for our efforts.”

Ismael Huddersfield

Monday’s hosts Derby are bottom of the division having being hit by two hefty points deductions. 

Wayne Rooney’s Rams have just four points to their name, with many already condemning them to League One football next season.

But Ismaël is wary of the threat Derby pose, pointing towards positive results they’ve picked up this term in extremely challenging circumstances.

“The Championship is tricky. It’s never easy. Every game has its own story.

“Derby are a good team. I think when you consider everything that has happened there so far this season, they have done a really good job.

“This Derby team has nothing to lose because everyone expects them to drop into League One.

“They have got some really good results so far this season, but we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“If you look at the game against them earlier this season, we could have won about five or six nil.

“We are expecting a difficult game, but we believe we have the solutions to get three points.”

  • Ismaël