Birmingham Preview & Gary Rowett
Happy New Year to all Rams fans. Lets hope its a prosperous one for DCFC.
Earlier this season I was asked to write a preview piece for the Birmingham game for Blues website/blog http://www.wearebirmingham.co.uk For some reason they’ve asked me to do it again. here’s the piece with a small addition regarding Rowett’s contract.
“When I wrote this piece prior to the corresponding fixture earlier in the season, Derby were very much a work in progress, as likely to win 5-0 as they were to get trounced – particularly away from home.
Indeed, I wrote at the time “Rowett is going for a more pragmatic approach but is only maybe a third of the way through getting the squad where it needs to be to fit his vision. Technically our squad is excellent but in terms of the dirty Championship traits you need, we are very hit and miss and are often too easy to play against.”
At the time I don’t think any Derby fan (including me) saw Rowett turning the ship around so successfully in such a short space of time. We certainly didn’t see the Rams launching into such a stellar run of form, that has seen them surge up the table and into the second automatic spot.
With a positive net spend, Rowett has added steel and know how to our team (Davies, Ledley, Huddlestone) and has improved others (Vydra, Weimann, Keogh) so spectacularly they are like new multi million pound signings. In addition, all of the Rams regular weaknesses he has nailed – fitness, tactical naivety, set piece defending, late goals conceded, lack of shots all now bad memories.
It is no surprise, although somewhat ironic, that Gaz has this week been rewarded for his efforts with a new improved and extended contract the week before we play the Blues again. Stoke came sniffing and no doubt they won’t be the last if he keeps up his current work, so well in Derby.
In terms of Saturday, you will find Derby solid, organised and difficult to break down. You will also find that if you give any opportunity to Winnall, Nugent and particularly Vydra, the ball is likely to end up in the Blues net.
Despite the Blues recent turnaround in form, I am sure Derby will be coming to St Andrews hoping for 3 points. However, we all know anything can happen in the Championship (witness our inexplicable drubbing at home to Reading a few weeks ago) so it should make for a cracking game.”
In addition to the above, I just wanted to put out a few lines on how great it is to secure Rowett on his new deal. Initially I incorrectly thought this was a naive panic move by the Rams based on the Stoke speculation. However, it seems this has been in the works for a few weeks and the Stoke thing merely accelerated the closure of the deal.
Let’s be clear, Gary has achieved nothing yet and I am sure he would be the first to acknowledge that. But the progress made in such a short period, using largely the tools at his disposal, is astonishing.
Stupid talk about style of play seems to have now subsided and the Rams are firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion. Away games are fun to go to again with everyone firmly behind the team and the previous horrible, toxic atmosphere that had become so prevalent is again a bad memory. We also have a manager quite happy to drop the word “dichotomy” in his interviews.
There is a long way to go and Derby more than anyone know that the Championship is a cruel and unforgiving league. Like most Rams fans I don’t see this team falling off a cliff as in previous years, but there is so much football to be played a million things could change between now and May.
However it works out, what Rowett has done is give us back our self-respect and for that alone he deserves everyone’s support & thanks.
The Rams are rising!