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Derby County 'spied on' during training in countdown to trip to Leeds United

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 10/01/2019 John Percy
Frank Lampard looking at the camera: Frank Lampard, the Derby County manager, will face a stern test on Friday night © Getty Images Frank Lampard, the Derby County manager, will face a stern test on Friday night

Frank Lampard’s preparations for Friday night’s Championship game with Leeds United have been rocked by an extraordinary spy row.

Derby County manager Lampard was forced to stop training on Thursday morning after it emerged a man in plain clothes was watching their session with binoculars before police were called to the scene.

Police officers entered the pitch being used by Derby’s players before escorting the man off the training ground and later confirming he had binoculars, a change of clothes and pliers.

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It is thought the pliers were used to cut a way into the training ground, which has security cameras dotted all around the complex.

There are suspicions the man was intending to pass information on to Leeds and efforts are being made to establish whether or not he was working for the Championship leaders. Derby are taking the situation "extremely seriously."

Lampard, the former Chelsea and England midfielder, is understood to be deeply concerned by the security breach ahead of Friday’s game at Elland Road.

Derby police’s response unit tweeted: “Officers have just attended the Training Ground for @dcfcofficial After a suspicious male was seen at the perimeter fence. Excellent searching conducted & male was located. All checks above board! Keeping the team safe to bring home a win against #LUFC on 11th! #SpyingIsCheating”.

Lampard’s Derby are currently sixth in the Championship, eight points behind Marcelo Bielsa’s team.

Derby were beaten 4-1 by Leeds at Pride Park earlier in the season but Bielsa’s side have lost their last three matches.

Gallery: Heaviest defeats in sporting history (Read Sport)

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