New Boys – Paul Coutts
Whilst we still wait with baited breath to see who Nigel has got ‘lined up’ to replace Shackell an who exactly is going to be our next level striker, Paul Coutts has arrived from Preston for a reported £150k.
Whilst Coutts ticks most of Nigel’s usual criteria (aged 20-24, potential to get better, played well against us, has issues at previous club, low wages) most Rams fans won’t know too much about him. Thus here’s the low down from his two previous clubs.
I think he needed a change of scene even before we got this new manager as he appeared to fall out with the club even though he was the captain . Graham Westley came in and immediately stripped him of the captaincy and told him to stay away from the club until he got his head/mind sorted.
He came back after a couple of weeks and forced his way back into the team and even took the captains armband again before the season (the last one) ended.
Like a few others of the old squad of players I don’t think he took to Westley or the new training regime but as I said he is a decent player and should more than hold his own in The Championship.
Geoff Ollerton – Preston Supporters Group www.psg.me.uk
When Paul Coutts signed for us he came as an absolute unheard of. We had become famous at this point for taking punts on lower-league and non-league talents and developing them into competent Football League players, but Coutts signed from the lowest level of any previous to him –Scottish Third Division side, Cove Rangers.
It was a big step-up to join a club that was full-time, let alone in the Football League, but Coutts made it was ease. Immediately it was clear that he had a natural talent in possession that was fitting of a higher level than he was previously playing at.
In-fact, such was the impression that he made at London Road, Micah Hyde – a veteran with experience at the top level of English football and international level, and Posh’s captain at the time – was released to allow Coutts to play a more prominent role in the first-team.
He played a key-part in our promotion from League One that season, becoming a vital member of the first-team squad and established himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet. Nobody had expected him to make such an impact so quickly.
He had a rare ability to drive forward from midfield and was very capable at picking a pass. Unfortunately for us, when Darren Ferguson left he knew of his talents and made signing Coutts one of his main priorities with the Scottish midfielder being one of his first signings for his new club, Preston.
As already mentioned Coutts’ main strength lies with his ability on the ball. He is very technically adept, and will not be out of place in the Championship – as proven from his first stint for us at this level. However, he isn’t the most robust of midfielders and often appears a little lightweight, especially playing at this level where the tempo is far higher than at lower levels.
That said, two further seasons of first-team football at Preston will have stood him in good stead and the now more experienced Coutts is likely to have gone from strength-to-strength since leaving us. He’ll be a good signing for Derby and won’t find the step-up from League One a problem, in my opinion.