Step Up The Morphine
The EFL scheduled season proper has come to a close and Derby have achieved their minimum stated objective of the play offs whilst significantly reducing their net transfer spend.
With a previously all conquering, but now somewhat out of sorts Fulham side due to visit Pride Park on Friday, it’s definitely all to play for in the final sprint.Despite Gary Rowett stating from the off it was time to re-invent the club’s reputation and perception, then in turn trying in vain to play down the infamous Derby February collapse, surely there has never been a more ‘Derby’ season than this one. It feels like Rams fans have been put through the emotional mill to previously uncharted levels and now we need to go again.
A shaky start to the campaign, turning into a really bad one with hammerings at Sheffield and Bristol, did nothing to turn Rams fans onto Rowetts new “functional” style of play. Then with the signing of Joe Ledley and a conscious back to basics approach, we stumbled onto a magic formula, storming up the league and into the top 2 with various masterclasses in shithousery and a fair few thumping wins to boot. Then it all went tits.
The reasons for the collapse have been well debated and documented, but the defeat to Burton Albion was probably my lowest point as a Derby fan since Wembley and our most humiliating result since Crawley. At this stage nobody would have been surprised if Rowett had been removed. Its to Mel’s credit he didn’t pull the trigger and I am certain he would have done in any season previous. With the team at an all time low and rumours of a lost dressing room, we’ll never know how close it was.
Again, a change in formation signalled an upturn in fortunes. Maybe it was influenced by Wolves, but the move to 532 has been a game changer that nobody saw coming. A restored Keogh without the burden of the armband and free to roam as part of a back 3 is like an extra midfielder. Curtis, with the burden of the armband, has risen to a whole new level of epicness when he was already playing out of his skin. The previously hapless Fozzy has stopped miskicking the ball and getting skinned, looking great at CB or LB. The much-maligned Bradley Johnson has quietly had his 3 best games for the club marauding around the midfield using his strength effectively and with purpose. Lawrence is like a new signing, full of confidence, looking dangerous and running his nuts off – If we were making a film of this turnaround we should call it “532 – Tom Lawrence unleashed”. Then there’s big Cammy – widely derided by all as an awful signing and audibly booed when he came on as sub as Wolves, his biblical performance against Cardiff came from nowhere and he’s kept it going against Villa and Barnsley. In the space of a week the guy has gone from looking like a Donkey put out to pasture to looking like an absolute machine, utterly destroying Barnsley on Sunday.
The team is playing so well, Kasey Palmer still isn’t getting a kick, but no-one has mentioned him for two weeks! Even the George Thorne fan club are quiet (maybe they are just enjoying him on DVD with his friends Dorothy, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion).
From being on their arse not 3 weeks ago, The Rams are in great shape and should fear no-one in these play offs, including this Fulham team who soundly walloped us on their last visit. That said, I also agree though with a tweet I saw from Ryan O’Meara where he said these play offs were a free hit for Derby. The other sides have lots more to lose than us and should we dip out, GR can go into next season with lots of goodwill and no real changes to the plan he had anyway.
If we were to do it, it would surely be the most unlikely of victories ever, but then this is Derby County folks and as you all know, fucking anything could happen!
Come on you Super Rams!
Posted on May 9, 2018, in General Rams Comment and tagged bradley johnson, Cameron Jerome, Curtis Davies, derby, derby county, Fulham, Gary Rowett, ramspace, Richard Keogh, the rams, Tom Lawrence. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.