Post Match Thoughts – Mansfield
Last night, along with just over 1000 other Rams fans, a few of us went up to Mansfield for the first friendly of the season.
Whilst the game was clearly a ‘loosener’, with Clough subbing the whole team at half time, herewith a few points of note from last nights action.
- Keogh captained in the frst half and is definitely more of a Barker type defender than a Shackell. He doesn’t look overly happy on the ball (although maybe he was trying a bit too hard to start with) and is going to be very much a ‘headers and tackles’ centre half. However Mansfield were a massive side, with a Rory Delap thow in expert in their ranks, and he was solid enough.
- Of the other two new signings, Michael Jacobs looked quality. Great touch, great direct dribbling and the trick he threw to earn the penalty was class. I cant wait to see him in full flight at Pride Park. Whilst not being as obviously outstanding, Coutts also looks a player. He put more of a ‘shift’ in but also used the ball well and has a trick.
- Of the two trialists, Caton was a lively left winger who, considering his age, maybe worth a punt for a year. Gjokaj was an interesting one as Clough doesn’t normally do foreign trialists or foreign players full stop. He was ok and was certainly far more comfortable on the ball than any of our other defenders which might give him half a chance.
- Accepting that he’s 3rd choice, Saul Deeney is shocking. I understand his role is to cover the bench without using up valuable budget, allowing better keepers to get game time, but we must be able to do better than him.
- The striker situation definitely needs some urgent attention. Jamie Ward looked really sharp and caused havoc playing centrally just off Theo in the first half, but we really need a penalty box striker. Bennet, Theo and Tyson all want to play the channels and, without Steve Davies, there’s nobody attacking the front post to apply the finish. If we get the right guy for this role, he could score a lot of goals with the service he’s likely to get.
- Whilst a younger Rams side got a bit bullied in the second half, Will Hughes again shone out as utter quality. Quite clearly the best technical footballer on display all night on either side, this lad is class and gaining confidence all the time.
- Finally, Clough always talks a lot about “coming back in good shape” after the summer. I’m sure the new Kappa gear is doing him no favours, but he needs to have a word with Martin Taylor!
Overall, whilst it was disappointing to lose, it was a decent knock about and whilst I think we’ll play two teams again in Saturday, it will be interesting to see how the team selection settles over the coming games.