The Next Level
I didn’t go to Ipswich on Saturday, but the post match comment and general feedback was that the Rams were unfortunate not to take something from the game. Again.
Cant fault the players, punished for half mistake, Frank had little to do, if we’d have scored first/when we were on top (delete as appropriate), plenty of positives, deserved something from the game are all things we’ve heard regularly this season after losing to below average opposition. However you get no points for any of that last time I checked.
Clough himself has mentioned on various occasions this season the fine margins which decide most championship games and on this point he is spot on. As anyone reading this column will know, there is nothing to pick between 90% of the teams in the league and most games are decided or dictated by specific incidents of good/bad play or a good bounce at the right time. Clearly the better sides have that extra couple of percentage points of skill and belief, which normally leads to a few more breaks in your favour on a reasonably regular basis.
If we park the whole “young players” conversation for a moment, this current Rams side are certainly more competitive than we have been for a couple of seasons. Aside from Leicester and Cardiff, I can’t think of any game where we weren’t competitive or ‘in it’ at some stage. Indeed if you take Barnsley, Brighton and Peterborough alone there’s 8 points lost in games we should easily have won. Then there’s the various hard luck stories such as Burnley, Boro, Reading Palace, Ipswich etc
In previous seasons, we’ve been competitive in probably 1 in 3 games and our away form has been particularly desperate. Thus this is definitely a move forward. The challenge for Clough now is how he changes these narrow defeats to wins and draws, something the likes of Silly, Nigel Pearson and Malky Mackay have turned into an art form.
As 2011 comes to a close there are many good things happening with DCFC at large such as the solidity of the finances, the sensible state of the wage bill, the healthy state of the Academy (bring on United!) & the Pride Plaza development. However the overall results of the first team continue to frustrate.
Accepting that we are probably not going to pay £3m for Billy Sharp anytime soon, we can only hope that the return of Tyson and Theo will add that extra goal threat which will turn some of these games in our favour and push us towards a single digit league position. Failing that, it could be a long 6 months before we see if Nigel can find the magic formula next season.
Happy Christmas to all our readers and thanks for your continued support of the site.