Opposing View: Derby County
Get the lowdown on the Rams courtesy of Vital Derby editor, MikeC...
How has the season lived up to your expectations?
We`ve played some great football at Pride Park this season and taken a number of teams apart but we still lack concentration at the back and concede some woeful goals and it`s our away form that is the real concern.
Winning away to Forest every year is one thing but we need to put in performances in the other 22 games as well and we have far to negative an attitude at times on our travels.Where will you finish this season?
I think we`ll finish roughly where we are now although we have to be careful the season doesn`t tail off with the injuries we are encountering and nothing to play for as the play-offs look to be just beyond our reach.
We are progressing under Nigel Clough but it`s a painfully slow process and there is going to come a point soon when serious questions are asked of the board and their ambition to see us succeed rather than just the ramblings of those 'grass is always greener` somewhere else fans.
It`s all very well having a promising young team but if we`re not looking likely to break into the leading pack in the division how long will they hang around when opportunities to better themselves arrive?How is former Hornet Theo Robinson doing for you?
Theo is a footballing enigma, one minute he`s running at goal beating defenders and curling home a great finish, the next he`s miss-controlling a simple pass or running the ball straight into touch with no one near him.
If he reacts on instinct he can be a great player, but when he has to think…
He was Derby`s joint leading scorer last season and has been top scorer again for most of this season but when everyone is fit he`s not first choice which says it all really. The fans like him, mainly when we`re not doing well going forward and feel we need change, but he`s always given his all for the side and does have a knack of finding a goal when needed so is a valued member of the squad. Who will be the key man on Saturday?
If fit I would say Will Hughes, the boy has a great future ahead of him and whilst I hate to say it he`s going bigger places than Pride Park if he can keep progressing.
The composure and skill shown at his age during his first full season in the Championship has been remarkable, he`s a future full international waiting to happen.
As it looks like he won`t be fit I`d have to go with Jamie Ward, the diminutive striker has only played half of this season but has ten goals to his name and adds the spark and extra dimension we miss at times.One Ram you'd drive to his next club & why?
There`s nothing like a good cliché but I think we have a very honest side and a squad of players who give their all every week so there is no one player I would want rid of even if there are clear areas that need improvement if we are to progress. Conor Sammon somewhat divides
opinions amongst a lot of Rams fans, personally I`ve got a lot of time for him and if he could score more goals he would be a good player but then again if Titus Bramble could defend so would he.One Hornet you'd poach & why?
Somewhat predictable maybe but Matej Vydra has looked very sharp this year and a twenty goal a season striker would certainly help push us from a mid-table side to one who could seriously challenge for the play-offs rather than being just off the pace for most of the season. Any injuries or suspensions?
If you play in defence for The Rams you are an endangered species at the moment!
With Shaun Barker already out for the season we have lost Mark O`Brien and James O`Connor and now young Kieron Freeman is out for three or four weeks after coming in at right-back.
Jake Buxton could make a return after only playing one game in just over two months and we are really down to the bare bones with the Under-21 team making up the numbers with Gareth Roberts missing the last of his three games through suspension.Match prediction?
I`d be happy with a point given our injury record and your recent run of form but I fear the worst as we have not travelled well at the best of times this season.Cheers Mike! We're gunning for revenge after the 5-1 - be warned!