Kelle makes it 7up!
This weeks surprise signing of young Dutch goalkeeper Kelle Roos now means that The Rams have seven professional ‘keepers (i.e. not including youth teamers) on the books. Amazing when you consider Lee Grant is probably the first name on the team sheet and Legzdins is under little or no pressure for his no.2 spot. How did we get here and what are they all up to?
1. Lee Grant
Our undisputed number one. Fans had mixed feelings on his return: some recognised him as one of the best and most consistent Championship goalkeepers; others assumed he was the same player as 10 years ago when he was less consistent. During the first part of the season, some were muttering that Martin Taylor had sprinkled his evil pixie dust on Grant – the same stuff that changed Bywater from “we think he’s one of the best English goalkeepers around” (Clough) to an unwanted expense; and Fielding from the England squad to Bristol City reserves.
However, true or not, there’s no doubt Grant has found his best form since Eric Steele’s return and long may it continue!
2. Adam Legzdins
Proved last season that he is a more than competent deputy in the Championship (and capable no.1 – just not for a top 6 team yet). Got all the tools, just needs to play games to develop. Its unlikely to be for us in the long term but more than happy to keep him around for the time being.
3. Saul Deeney
One of the Rams longest serving players, now into his fourth season with the Rams. However, if you made a “I’ve seen Saul Deeney play” t-shirt, you’d struggle for customers.
A shrewd move by Clough in some ways – sub ‘keepers are rarely used so why spend a lot on one? Clough’s logic was that we could always loan a ‘keeper if anything more than a couple of games was required. You only need consider how much Forest are spending on De Vries and the Kuwati ‘keeper who never play (and they often have neither on the bench) to see that you can easily add to the wage bill for no reason.
However, Deeney has been fortunate to be renewed each year, especially after the arrival of Legzdins made him redundant in all but the literal sense. It will be interesting to see where he ends up next year.
4. Ross Atkins
Ross Atkins is Derby’s own version of Simon Dawkins. No, I don’t mean he’s going to break into the team and propel us into the top 2 but he’s reached his mid 20s without ever looking like becoming a first-teamer (Dawkins at Tottenham of course).
Atkins made one end of season first team appearance a few years back but his career has unfortunately stalled since. A full season at Burton, followed by a part season at Burton, followed by a loan to Alfreton in a lower division. Now he’s back with us after losing his first team place.
A possible beneficiary of Jake Kean’s success at Blackburn, Clough barely released a young goalie since! Its difficult to see what exactly Clough had in mind for Atkins though. In fairness, goalkeepers do develop later in life and he may find a niche somewhere…Sheffield Utd for example.
5. Mats Morch
The young Norwegian joined after the club honoured a deal set up before Jagger’s departure. Part of a decent youth team, Morch is now in his second year as a pro. Things were looking up for him as he sat on the first team bench during McClaren’s early matches – seemingly rising up the pecking order. However, he is now on loan at Gresley and my non-league expert tells me he’s had mixed reviews so far.
6. Ross Etheridge
A first year pro and like Morch, currently on loan in the Evo Stick league. This time at Ilkeston after an early season spell at Gresley. Unlike Morch, he’s getting rave reviews and has had his loan extended until the end of the season. I saw him make a great punched penalty save in last years youth cup. Likely to escape any possible cull.
7. Kelle Roos
A big welcome to big Kelle! Steele says he’ll be joining the first team squad which spells trouble for several of those listed above. Especially as to the best of my knowledge, only Grant has a contract beyond this season (not sure about Legz?).