Rams have the runs!
Say what you like about Silly (ok then, he’s an arrogant little…sniiiip…) but he does know the Championship inside out and he’s an expert at getting teams in the play-offs. One of his theories was that teams needed three good runs in a season to challenge for the play-offs.
The Rams began the season with a run (“why haven’t we given Nigel a new contract – its a disgrace. Sack the Board”) before going into a massive dip (“sack Nigel, sack the Board”). With an awkward looking Christmas on the horizon, the Rams have managed to put together a impressive mini run which has seen us jump to 9th (2 points from the play-off’s).
All three victories were against promotion/play-off contenders.
How did this happen? Well, a point I’ve made several times in conversation recently bears repeating: if you asked 100 Rams fans in August what our strongest team was, the majority verdict would have been: Fielding; Brayford, Roberts, Barker, Shackell; Bailey, Green, Bryson (although unknown quantity at the time); Ward, Tyson, Maguire/S Davies. With the exception of the final striker, our best 10 was an easy pick, yet it took until Boxing Day to get them all on the field at the same time. A co-incidence that we’re winning? No. OB, Hendrick, Theo and B Davies have all been great at times this season and earned us points but none were expected to play 46 games.
In contrast to last year, when the points total was similar but the trajectory downwards, The Rams could be embarking on a second run. Nick Barmby’s post match comments about Derby “parking the bus” could have been a side swipe but for a team with less clean sheets than a seaside B&B, it was music to our ears.
We’re always optimistic at Ramspace and don’t like to get carried away. However, you may recall us predicting a top eight finish before the season (repeated by me in the Guardian pre-Christmas). We’re still not getting carried away but the line graph of progress isn’t looking too far off.