Lampard holds no grudge against Leeds over ‘Spygate’
Leeds were fined £200,000 for breaching the EFL’s code of conduct by observing Derby in training.
Derby boss Frank Lampard has “no axe to grind” over the ‘Spygate’ incident involving Leeds.
Leeds were fined £200,000 for breaching the EFL’s code of conduct when they sent a member of staff to watch a Derby training session before a Sky Bet Championship match between the two clubs in January.
The Rams lost the subsequent game 2-0 but Lampard insists the controversy had no effect on the outcome.
Ahead of Saturday’s play-off semi-final first leg at Pride Park, the former England midfielder said at a press conference: “It (Spygate) doesn’t matter at all going into this game for us.
“It doesn’t affect how we prepare and how we go up against Leeds.
“This is football, football will always throw up different things in different forms, they’re part of the experience.
“That’s why I think I’ve got no axe to grind with it now because I think whatever team progresses through this game after two legs deserves to be there no matter what.
“I said at Elland Road when they beat us that it had no bearing on the result because we got beaten by a better team. It will have no bearing (on this game).”
Lampard wants his Rams to embrace the challenge of being underdogs against Leeds, despite their recent form.
Leeds head into the play-offs having lost three of their last four games while Derby have been beaten just once in their last 12 matches, but the 40-year-old reiterated his belief that Marcelo Bielsa’s men are favourites.
“I think we’re underdogs, that’s a challenge that we’ll have to accept and take on,” he said.
“I do (think we’re underdogs) in the case that we finished behind Leeds for a reason. They beat us twice.”
The Rams boss, whose side finished sixth in the Championship, nine points behind third-placed Leeds added: “We have to focus and we have to prepare.
“We focus on ourselves, we mustn’t forget the fact they beat us twice, we mustn’t forget the fact that they finished points above us in the league.
“I respect them hugely and we still prepare as we would for any team. We focus on ourselves and that’s what we do and we’ll be ready.”
Martyn Waghorn and Duane Holmes are both doubtful for the first leg, while defender Richard Keogh is expected to play despite a minor groin strain.
Ashley Cole is not expected to return in time for the game at Pride Park but could be back for the return fixture.