Derby County and Mile Sterjovski will face Manchester United in the Carling Cup semi-final on Wednesday morning (AEDT). The struggling Rams are sitting just two points out of the relegation zone in the Championship but take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the semi-final against reigning Premier League champion Manchester United.

Derby managed to overcome the Red Devils at Pride Park two weeks ago thanks to a Kris Commons goal and are just 90 minutes away from a Wembley Stadium berth against either Burnley or Tottenham.

Socceroos striker Mile Sterjovski was a key to Nigel Clough's side in the first leg after being forgotten by former manager Paul Jewell for much of the season.

The 29-year old still doesn't know why he couldn't push for a first team game under Jewell but is looking to push for regular football under Clough.

"I'm the sort of guy who just works hard and I didn't do anything differently under Paul Jewell," Sterjovski told The World Game.

"I even do extra sessions when I haven't been playing but under Paul Jewell I was just getting neglected and it went on and on. I was in a hole that I couldn't get out of. Now, hopefully, things have changed.

"I wouldn't have a clue," Sterjovksi said of why Jewell constantly left him out of the team.

"I played in the Premier League under Jewell and I thought I did quite well, I was getting into the swing of things and getting used to the style of football.

"Then coming into the second season in the Championship I was not included at all. That was a big shock but I kept working hard and didn't complain.

"Even when I worked harder nothing happened. I event went away with the national team and did well, I scored goals, and played well, and it didn't change anything.

"I can't answer the question as to why it didn't work out."