9th – Chris Martin
It’s the 9th December today so who else would you expect to be behind the door apart from super Chrissy Martin, Derby’s Number 9!
Goalscorer supreme and now Rams captain, Chris remains pivotal to this Derby County side and our hopes of promotion to the Premier league.
In terms of pure return on investment, Chris can surely have no peer in Derby County history. A great cross between the old skool target man and a more modern trequartista – bullying centre halves or dropping between the lines to link the play – on his day, Chris is the best striker outside the Premier league in my view.
Although I’ve been told he returned for pre-season this year in the best shape he has been in at Derby, he had a slow start to life under Clement.
With a stated objective of tactical flexibility and a general tactic change from “give it to Martin” to “Give it to Ince”, Chris cut a frustrated figure early season. Something that was categorically confirmed when I ended up, by bizarre co-incidence, watching the Leeds game in his cousin’s bar in Spain.
However as the season has progressed, Clement realised that our best formation was the original 4-3-3, Ince’s form dropped, Martin hit a purple patch, was made captain and normal service was resumed………and therein lies the conundrum.
Amongst many things that went wrong last year, Martins injury was the main one, completely de-railing our entire style of play. Bent is a willing runner and ace marksman for sure, but a target man he is not. After that we have Kwame Thomas and that’s it.
With our current finances, I am sure if Martin were to get injured, we would replace him reasonably quickly but a desperation signing isn’t where we want to be.
That said, How do you stop him playing every minute of every game, stop fatigue and avoid another injury in the key period of March/April? How and when do you rest him? How do you sign someone of the appropriate quality to be his occasional stand in but mostly sit on the bench? What happens if we go up? Do we change formation or do we upgrade Chris and put him on the bench?
It’s a riddle McClaren couldn’t crack and it cost the Rams dearly. Let’s hope Clement has the answers good to go
In the meantime I would lump on him for anytime goalscorer in these next two home games because he’s more than due to get back amongst the goals. Para, Para, Paradise…….