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.
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.