Season Preview for the Guardian

We were asked to provide 150-200 words for The Guardian’s Football League preview. Here’s what we wrote with a few extra thoughts on the end:

On the surface of it, last season may have appeared a disaster for Derby and certainly some of our fans would see it that way. However, with the exception of a couple of hammerings, we weren’t that bad and small margins made all the difference. We conceded loads of late goals but never scored any; and lacked the squad depth to alter the course of games. After a frugal couple of years, the Rams have now opened the cheque book again and Nigel Clough has made eight new signings to address some of last years issues. At least two of the new recruits captained their sides last season, whilst four new strikers should give us options going forward.

If we can convert some of our narrow defeats to narrow victories, we could soon shoot up the table and gain some momentum. We have shown we can play good football, we just need the backbone to support it. Clough has spoken about a top eight finish and I can see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case.

(Re-reading the last sentence, I winced a little on hearing the Crewe result – but when has pre-season ever been a good guide?)

Given a few more words, I would have added that on top of the new signings, the promotion of youth team players (Hendrick, Ball, O’Brien), plus Lee Croft, adds to the overhaul of the squad. The aforementioned youngsters weren’t considered until the games didn’t matter last season but if the season started tomorrow, O’Brien and Hendrick would be in for a shout to start (if Hendrick was here of course).

I reckon another player on the verge of a proper breakthrough is Conor Doyle. I was impressed by him last season and its been noticeable in pre-season that he has been involved exclusively in “first team” friendlies, whilst the likes of Pearson, Cwyka, Robinson and Croft have all played their part in reserve matches. I’m still not sure of his best position but a fluid front five could suit him perfectly.

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Posted on July 26, 2011, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Even if I wasn’t jaundiced by hearing about the 1-2 at Crewe (including Pearson knee injury) after coming home from a game of cricket in which I was bowled for a duck, ‘top eight’ is seriously over-ambitious, IMO.

    I see us as mid-table at best; the money that has gone in was only enough to keep us treading water in an increasingly competitive division and if the players continue to break down at their current rate (just under one per pre-season friendly), we will be back to emergency loans to stick plasters over the gaping holes before you can say ‘Nicky Hunt’.

    Now, back to my consolation lager….

  2. I’m also concerned about the injuries, once again six or seven unavailable. I’m not sure if we’re just being cautious or we might not see some of them until September.
    However, I’m ever the optimist. I think we are potentially stronger than last year (I say potentially as Bryson and Maguire are unknown quantities to some extent and we don’t know if a couple more siginings will arrive) and shouldn’t leak as many soft goals as last term.
    Top 8 is only what the likes of Millwall and Leeds acheived last year (or thereabouts without seeing final table). Its not too much to ask is it?

  3. Kennington Ram

    We are still desperately short in central midfield. Need a grizzled old warhorse in there, someone like Eustace to give us a voice and show the youngster’s what to do. I think the fans calling for a ‘proven’ goalscorer will be disappointed, but i don’t think it’s necessary – who’d have thought Danny Graham would prove to be the league’s top scorer this time last year?

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