Stick or Twist ?

As 2013 comes to an end, Derby County find themselves sitting in an automatic promotion spot at the exact half way point of the Championship season.

The appointment of Steve McClaren couldn’t feasibly have gone any better and as we enter 2014 and the January Transfer window, the infamous “Derby County ownership group” are facing a whole new scruple to deal with.

The last few months have seen some of the best football played by Derby for years. McLaren’s killer signings of Wisdom & Dawkins alongside the adoption of the 4-1-2-2-1 formation have hit the jackpot and propelled the Rams to the forefront of the promotion race without spending a penny more than was available to Clough. The success of the team is undoubtedly based on a great team spirit but also having good players in key positions who compliment each other perfectly.

The team is not broke and doesn’t particularly need an upgrade anywhere (fair play to Forsyth who has been immense since I said he was the weakest link) to smash through this division. However whilst an injury to Bryson, Martin (both of which look tired to me) or Hughes wouldn’t be a disaster in the old world of muddling along in mid table, it would kill us in our new objective of scoring 2 points per game.barnsley celebrate

Sam Rush recently told a friend of mine that we would be signing 3 players in January – Dawkins plus two. If that’s still the plan, my money would be on a quality striker and a midfielder. Names that don’t seem to want to go away are Bamford, Wickham (another one who has been brilliant since I said he was shit) and Jack Cork. I think we should also be doing everything to get Keane until the end of the season.

The interesting questions now are A) Are we still happy with 3 new faces now we are top two? B) What does McLaren think we need? C) Will the ownership group be happy to increase budgets based on the fact we have a genuine chance?

Of our competitors, QPR will obviously spend and Burnley obviously won’t. Whilst Leicester will probably do a bit I don’t think they will go crazy as they have done previously. Forest will have a big budget and will no doubt go for a couple of strikers. However Forest having budget and landing their man are two different things due to the horrendous reputation of their manager and them being notoriously difficult to deal with.

My personal view would be sign up Dawks and get Keane locked down to the end of the season as priority. In addition to that, we definitely need cover for Martin and I would prefer Wickham to Bamford purely as he is proven at this level. A proven midfield all rounder like Cork who could cover Bryson or Hughes is definitely needed but I would also try and find another Eustace. There is going to be lots of game management required now and you just can’t have enough players around who have been there and done it.

However this pans out its going to be an interesting January for sure. But let me leave you with my much quoted favourite transfer window story. At this point in 2009 Forest were top of the league with Silly shouting as usual for transfer funds. In that window Newcastle signed 9 players, West Brom signed 7, Forest signed nobody. Guess who got promoted? Clue –  it wasn’t Forest.

Happy New Year to all our readers.

Come on you Rams!


Posted on December 30, 2013, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It would make perfect sense to sign Dawkins, and I hope that was negotiated into the deal that brought him here in the first place….
    Don’t we already have cover for Eustace in Cisse…? I would like to see him kept on.
    Upfront, in theory at least, Sammon is a like for like substitute for Martin…? I wonder if he’ll be staying though…perhaps not if we do indeed bring Wickham in.

    • Thanks for the comment Steve. Whilst Cisse is a good replacement for Eustace in terms of the holding role, what I meant was more of a ageing warrior who can buy time, destroy, mither the ref etc and help us get those tight games over the line. I don’t see Cisse as that guy.

      With regards to Sammon, I think he’s a totally different player to Martin and doesn’t really fit our formation, aside from running channels late on to buy time. I also think he’s very likely to move in January to free up wages.

  2. It’s brilliant to be thinking about promotion again! The transfer window could be key, but it’s difficult to see where we need to strengthen at the moment! I agree that we should get Dawkins signed up, and I think that Cisse can do the Eustace role (he was class on his debut). One point that I would make is what would happen if Wisdom went back to Liverpool? What are the chances of signing him up on a permanent basis?! As an aside, what the hell has happened to John Brayford?? I thought he’d be a regular for Cardiff, and knocking on Roy Hodgson’s door!

  3. Love the idea of Jack Cork as cover for Bryson and Hughes! Always liked him as a player and thought £1m to Southampton way back when was a steal. Personally I would like to see a permanent replacement for Eustace and see him as cover and Cisse gone. Don’t get me wrong Eusty has been cracking and Cisse did his job but if we are looking at going up signing a quality defensive midfielder is imperative. A lynch pin if u will, the Stimac for a new generation so we aren’t in total disarray in the summer (total confidence in our promotion 😉 ).

    someone on loan to cover Martin, Dawkins in full time (big turn around for me but still has room for improvement) and Keane (who looks young but a natural defender) to the end of the season would solidify the squad. I think Sammon may go but who will take his wages? The worst rumour for me is JR to the blunts! he hasn’t even had a good run yet and every time i’ve seen him he has looked quality. why drop down to league one?

    Isn’t it all very exciting!

  4. We definitely need a left back, what happens if Forsyth gets injured or his form slips again? I’d love to see a Prem quality left back come in and Forsyth could offer cover to the midfield.

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