Derby County Preview - Home, August 13
IT`S BEEN another re-building job up at Pride Park this summer but yet again the Rams loyal support are looking for their side to kick-on up the league.
Since Nigel Clough`s appointment three years ago, transfer windows have never been quiet at Pride Park and this summer has been no different with no fewer than 10 signings, nine of those on a permanent basis.
With that in mind, it`s a very different Rams side that Watford will take on this Saturday at the Vic` to the one that they beat 3-0 last January.
For Clough it`s time to start getting results or face the harsh reality of failing at a club where his dad will always be considered a club legend.
Heading the summer recruitment drive were strikers Jamie Ward, Theo Robinson (formerly of this parish of course), Nathan Tyson on a free from rivals Nottingham Forest and ex-Aberdeen hitman, Chris Maguire.
Further additions were made in the shape of ex-Derby graduate Chris Riggott, Craig Bryson, loanee Kevin Kilbane and 'keepers Frank Fielding and Adam Ledgzins. However, with the Football League`s 25-man squad rules, Stephen Bywater, Saul Deeney, Dean Leacock, Paul Green and Dave Martin have all been unceremoniously unregistered from the squad ahead of the season.
Revolution is certainly the word on the lips of Derby County supporters.
An opening day win over fellow Midlanders Birmingham City on day one might look like a good result on paper, but the Rams also beat Leeds United last season on day one before ultimately spending a disappointing amount of the campaign in the lower echelons of the Championship.
Derby have been treading water since Clough`s arrival in January 2008; this is the big one - the first season where he can legitimately claim to have his own men in place. The pressure is on.
Derby have serious problems at centre-half with Riggott, Shaun Barker, Jake Buxton and Russell Anderson all sidelined, Clough expects Jason Shackell to be fit for the clash however. Watford on the other hand are fighting fit and Sean Dyche finds himself with a full squad to select from bar te long-term injury to Stephen McGinn.
Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Dickinson; Yeates, Eustace (c), Jenkins, Forsyth; Sordell and Iwelumo.
Derby County: Fielding; Brayford, O`Brien, Shackell, Kilbane; Croft, B.Davies, Bailey, Bryson, S.Davies; Ward.