The Calm Before The Storm
Prior to last weekends game against Huddersfield I had a strange feeling of apathy towards the days proceedings. It wasn’t the fact I wasn’t looking forward to the game, but more the fact that win lose or draw, there was no jeopardy or glory in the outcome.
The Rams sat, and still do, comfortably in 3rd place, a play off place secured but equally with little or no hope of catching Burnley to steal the second automatic spot.
It seems unbelievably harsh to me that we will comfortably go past the 79 points Hull got promoted with last season (we can also point to numerous games where we dropped points we shouldn’t have), yet will still have to contest the play offs. However the tough truth is that Burnley simply haven’t faltered at all and in reality haven’t given us a sniff. The defeat to them at Turf Moor, crucially followed by the 1 point return against Millwall and Bolton the following week was, for me, the moment it got away from us.
Watching the Huddersfield game and also last nights game against Donny, it seem the Rams team are also operating in some strange weird place, where we excerpt only the necessary effort required to earn maximum points and then shift gear down to training ground type keep ball. Either that or our young team have learnt the lessons of Birmingham and Ipswich and decided to take game management to a whole new level.
In terms of who we could come up against in the play offs, it looks like one of Brighton and Reading, with Forest and Ipswich still an outside bet. Whilst all of the teams mentioned would give us a test, it would be a travesty of the highest order if we were to lose out to any them over two legs.
The key prize of finishing third is that QPR and Wigan will have to play each other in the other semi final. Over two legs I would hope that Wigan would win out because in a one off game at Wembley I would definitely worry about the quality QPR have in their locker. Players like Morrison, Hoilett and Benayoun might be dogshit at Donny on a Tuesday night but could run riot at Wembley in a big game. Thats not even mentioning the returning Rams nemesis Charlie Austin and of course Joey Barton (best player for QPR in both games against Derby this season).
Whatever the final line up, DCFC certainly have as much chance as anybody else and however it plays out, this has been a great season we can build on and go again next year – whatever division we happen to be in!
Hold tight everybody and Come On You Rams!