Derby boss Steve McClaren revealed he wants to keep Tom Ince at the club next season after the winger’s double sealed a 4-4 draw at Huddersfield.
Ince, on loan from Hull City, scored the first and last in an eight-goal thriller which saw Derby twice come from behind to seal a precious point in the race for a SkyBet Championship play-off place.
McClaren said: “If we hadn’t got Tom Ince and others in January we wouldn’t be in the top six. He has scored goals and created them and he is my type of player.
“I think he’s been good for us and we’ve been good for him. I haven’t spoken to Steve Bruce but we would like to keep him.”
Ince put the visitors ahead in the 16th minute with a 25-yard cracker before three goals in seven minutes at the end of the first half put Huddersfield in control.
Oscar Gobern shrugged off a suspicion of handball to smash home his first goal in over three years in the 38th minute before left-back Reece James, on loan from Manchester United, produced the perfect corner for skipper Mark Hudson to head home at the back post.
In stoppage time James, a threat from corners throughout the game, made it 3-1 straight from the flag kick after keeper Lee Grant came for it and missed.
Nahki Wells saw a chance to make it 4-1 smash against the face of Grant and Derby took advantage as goals from substitute Simon Dawkins and Jesse Lingard made it 3-3 just after the hour.
Huddersfield went back in front at 4-3 when Wells looped a shot high into the net but Ince grabbed a point 10 minutes from time.
Town also had the ball in the net twice but the efforts were ruled out for offside.
McClaren was left tearing his hair out at his side’s defending and said: “It was a crazy game.
“We started well, got the goal and looked in control but three goals in seven minutes cost us.
“We had to win the second half and we showed unbelievable character and fight to stay in the game but we are not going to get anywhere this season if we keep conceding goals like we have been doing.
“We are crawling over the line and we don’t make it easy for ourselves. For the neutrals it was great, for the managers it was a nightmare and for the fans it had ups and downs.
“We need one more win and that’s our only focus but the way we are defending at the moment anyone could beat us. We are not in a good condition but we are scrapping.”