Rams vs. Brighton & Hove Albion preview
We were asked to do a short preview of Tuesday’s match for the Brighton programme. Instead of the usual “who’s your best player?” type of questionnaire, it asked some good questions. I don’t know how much will actually appear in the matchday mag but here is the unabridged version (written before Donny but I don’t think it would alter the answers too much):
1. So, mid table. Is that about where you expected Derbyto be at this stage? Slightly disappointed to not be nearer the play offs?
It is disappointing not to be higher. No one realistically expected to be top six but we had hoped to at least be in the pack with an outside chance sixth place – just like yourselves!
2. A win against Nottingham Forest must surely have been welcome. How was that game and how happy are Derby fans to see Forest struggling at the wrong end?
To beat Forest in injury time was magnificent (I know you did it as well but its slightly different for us!). It was a scrappy game but we more than deserved the victory. After seeing Forest at the top for the past two years, we’re delighted to see the debacle that has unfolded down the road this season.
3. Would you like to see them go down, or would you miss the rivalry? We went without playing Palace for years and it wasn’t much fun.
We would miss the rivalry and a lot of Rams fans would like them to stay up for those reasons – I wouldn’t shed any tears if they went down though!
4. Theo Robinson is your top scorer but has less than a dozen goals. Has finding the net been a problem for Derby?
Goals have been a problem. Steve Davies and Robinson have both scored a few but have also had spells injured. We used a fair chunk of our summer budget on Nathan Tyson and Chris Maguire but they’ve only scored once between them and haven’t featured much due to injury and form respectively.
5. And at the other end how important has the form of Frank Fielding been? He seems to get his fair share of rave reviews.
Fielding’s been good and has earned us a few points this season in tight games. However, it’s only his first full season so we hope there’s more to come from him.
6. Any young players we should be keeping an eye on over the next few seasons?
The saving grace of this season has been the young players. Ball, Hendrick and O’Brien have all featured a lot this season with Hendrick being the pick of the bunch. 15 year old Mason Bennett has also featured 7 times so far so definitely keep an eye out for him in the future!
7. And who should we be looking out for today?
Nathan Tyson is working really hard for his first Rams goal and is getting better as his match sharpness returns. Jason Shackell has had a good season and will be important tonight.
8. How do the fans view Nigel Clough? Were you happy when he got the job and how do you think he has done? Is he weighed down by the family name?
You’ll find some very mixed opinions on Nigel Clough amongst the Rams fans. I was pleased when he was appointed and he’s had a tough job trying to overhaul the squad and get rid of players on big wages who no one wants. However, I don’t think progress has been as quick as most fans would have hoped.
I think the family name has brought him goodwill if anything, although to the younger generation of Rams fans (i.e. under 40) its not something we’d really think about.
9. Earlier in the season we scraped a win at PridePark. Were you impressed by theAlbion and what do you think of the job Poyet has done so far on the south coast?
I think by Poyet’s own admission, it was a backs-to-the-wall performance by Albion that night and probably not the good football we often read about. He’s done a fantastic job when you consider how many players are still there from League One. A sign of a good coach is improving players.
10. Any of our players you would like in your team?
Will Buckley looks good from the clips I’ve seen and we could do with another good wide man.
11. Any specific memories of games between the two teams?
I remember travelling down to a mid week game at the Goldstone Ground near the end of the season when I was still at school. We won 2-1 but still missed out on promotion by a couple of points (Albion were relegated!).
12. Prediction for today?
A reversal of the Pride Park game because we owe you one. A backs-to-the-wall one-nil Rams victory.