Season Crossroads

After Saturdays spirit crushing surrender to Blackburn in the FA Cup, it’s no surprise to hear many Rams fans again questioning Clough and where exactly out team and club are heading.

We are now out of both cups. Realistically, we can’t go up, we can’t go down and we’ve even concluded our business with the Red Dogs for another season, so I can’t be the only Rams fan who, right now, is looking forward more to watching Chanderpaul lead Derbyshire’s division 1 campaign than I am Huddersfield at home on Saturday.

For a season that has promised so much and with so many positives, there is a genuine danger that the remaining few months could turn into a real slog with an increasingly negative atmosphere surrounding DCFC.

Prior to Saturday’s cup match I actually looked at the Championship league table and commented in the pub that, as much as there has been some good times this year, was it really that good to be 13th in the league behind the likes of Charlton, Millwall, Burnley, Watford, Palace & Leeds (who haven’t had a pot to piss in for 2 seasons or more)? Now we’ve been so comprehensively dumped out the cup, it’s even more depressing.

"Dear DET, Why does Clough keep playing 4-5-1? I don't think it's working. Yours, frustrated, Dublin"

“Dear DET, Why does Clough keep playing 4-5-1? I don’t think it’s working. Yours, frustrated, Dublin”

At times like these, Clough’s stubbornness with his tactics and predictable post match interviews rarely help to lift the mood and indeed often inflame it. The 4-5-1 in particular is widely hated by everyone.

Clough says he “wants a partnership” up top; we “always want to play 4-4-2, particularly at home” but then persists with the lone striker model.

I’ve written here for a few weeks now that our paper thin squad is running on empty. The majority of our key players either have knocks or are coming back from them, we don’t have a true championship standard centre half to partner Keogh and we, still, don’t have a genuine finisher. Couple that with the fact that teams know more about us now and you can see why results are suffering.

I tweeted today that I think a decent loan signing now would be just what the doctor ordered to lift the mood a bit and give some people a much needed breather. Maybe an older head for centre midfield, give Hughes a rest and tell Bryson to get 100% fit in a couple of U21 games. Alternately (or maybe as well) we could get a war horse centre back to partner Keogh and try and dig out some away results. Up top I would restore Theo with Sammon and play Ward wide or put Ward up top and get Jacobs in from the off.

Most of all what we need to do is be positive. The play offs maybe out of reach this year , but how you finish a season sets the mood for the next one. So let’s not give up, let’s get that single digit finish and then go again.


Posted on January 28, 2013, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. The real danger is that, as the season starts to fizzle out, we end up finishing lower than last year and with less points. There is no way for the club to spin that eventuality as “progress” and suddenly we really are at a crossroads.

  2. The season really is teetering right now! We either go on a good run and push back into the top ten or slump down into the bottom 12-15 and start the new season with lower attendances and even more disillusioned and distrungtled fans.
    We do seem to have a much better squad and have played great football at times this season, but are still struggling to make real progress!
    It’s a little dissapointing to think that not even the most optimistic Derby fans think we might actually try and strengthen our squad in January. We just all accept that this isn’t the way Derby are going to roll.
    We really are in a bit of a rut and I don’t just mean this period I think in general.
    With teams like Watford and Palace (who you would like to think we are competitive with financially) going on good runs (and there will always be a couple of these every season), it really is hard to see how we will crack the top 6.
    The though of QPR and possibly even Villa coming down, is almost depressing. They will no doubt buy there way back up. And again seemingly widen the gap between us and the 4 or 5 existing championship teams who also spend 5 to 10 million on players.
    I know we don’t want to will spend silly money on players or even the wages of journeymen loan players.
    But when you consider what the acquisition of a 1million pound Wes Morgan type player might do for us this January, It is a bit demoralising at the moment!
    Maybe I just have the January Blues! If we beat Huddesfield 3-0 then the world might be a better place again!


    Totally agree with all the above comments and am in the same depressed mood.Saturday was awful and i am struggling now not to be critical of Nigel Clough when i have been his greatest supporter in the past.
    Just a few further negative thoughts before i try and lift the mood.Firstly,i dont think we are out of a relegation battle yet.We are awful away from home and are very negative.Jeff Hendrick getting in the penalty area at Bristol must have been a mistake,because at home he stops his runs,not surprisingly because the ball is never crossed in early.Secondly i dont think Richard Keogh is that great a player.He likes doing the dying swan too much in stead of standing strong and is pushed around too much.Thirdly If one of our owners,i.e. Mallet has £750million according to Wiki,why not spend a bit.The sustainable business is never true of football and the fair play rules will be uncontrollable.Football is all about passion with no common sense.
    Fourthly,perhaps cash in the insurance on Barker and buy a player and use his wages.
    Cheer up.Its going to be a long run in to the season end .
    Now then,Really cheer up.Just think about the teams relegated with us from the premier.We are a lot better off.!!!!!!!!!!!!!.Are We?

  4. Agree with the 442 comment. I’d have Robinson and Sammon up front, as Tinks looks more likely to get us a goal than anyone else. Which is kind of the point. Ward or Jacobs wide left, and drop Hughes for a week or two – worked wonders for Jeff.

    Also agree a loan (centre half for me) won’t happen, but blimey it would give us a liftto bring someone in. It’s extremely vexing when you see Chris Wood, a player Clough wanted 2 years ago, banging them in at Leicester, and florist linked with everyone in sight and just know that our only hope of an exciting change to the team is if Mason Bennett gets a start.

    If we can recapture some verve at home to Huddersfield, then find a way to grind out 3 points at Hillsborough, we’d all start having a cheeky look at the league table again. It’s not over yet, but fat lady has cleared her throat and is loitering, stage left.

  5. The frustrating thing for me is that we must have one of the most valuable squads in the division when you look at what some of the players would be worth but that doesn’t translate to actual league position at all. When I noticed that Charlton had nudged above us, it really gave me a reality check. So credit for Clough for acquiring the players but we can’t go on being nearly men.

  6. I’ve written here for a few weeks now that our paper thin squad is running on empty. The majority of our key players either have knocks or are coming back from them, we don’t have a true championship standard centre half to partner Keogh and we, still, don’t have a genuine finisher. Couple that with the fact that teams know more about us now and you can see why results are suffering.

  7. I think this is the key problem, Derby lack squad cover and this is now beginning to show as we head into the New Year & the business end of the season. It’s very frustrating, but is it any real surprise? The lack of a regular centre-half partner for Keogh (O’Connor, Buxton & O’Brien), a young midfield & the lack of a clinical finisher.

    Yes, you can point at the tactics, but Clough is cautious because his first brief is to ensure we stay in

  8. this division. I really think the board & new exec have questions to answer, an £8m loss and yet no investment in the team.

    apologies for posting a number of comments, had problems with the ‘Leave a Reply’ box

  9. The 8 million loss is very interesting, especially as this is with us considerably tightening our belt. I also read on the bbc a few weeks later that Cardiff only posted loses of 12 million. And that is with paying a good chunk of Craig Bellamys wages and spending a lot more money on players then us in the last few seasons!
    Anyway, Huddesfield are in terrible form and have no manager! We must take advantage!

  10. I just get the impression that Clough is resigned to finishing the season without any further additions to the squad (loan or otherwise). Presumably the plan is to cash in on a few assets in the summer and use that money for a combination of new signings and ensuring we don’t lose another £8 million next season.
    It does annoy me that Clough continues to big up the experience and resources of teams like Blackburn. It suggests to me that he thinks we’ll never be able to compete with teams relegated from the PL. If that’s the case we’d better get used to another five years of limited progress and mid table mediocrity.

  11. Well unless i’ve missed it… no news on deadline day. I was hoping for 2 or 3 loan signings with a view to permanent. Striker, Center-half. Just to at least keep us interested for next season. You need experience at back and we are lacking without a doubt. I kinda didn’t expect anything maybe i should stop hoping for a supprise. i keep hoping for a Metgod influenced big dutch guy to join us upfront or at the back surely he knows some hidden gems? obviously not.

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