With Derby County having their season ticket campaign in full swing, just is the team on the rise to better things?
Firstly, it’s probably safe to say that the Rams won’t get promotion this season. Derby are 7 points off the play-offs, making it a tough task to even make the play-offs – particularly after a recent string of frustrating results. There’s no question that if the away results had been better then it could be a complete different story.
When we look back at previous seasons under Nigel Clough it’s right to say that this has been his best. It’s not massive progress on last season but it does seem that the club are closer to being a side that can compete higher in the table. We’ve stayed in the mix of around ninth and tenth of the league table for quite a while now.
An issue that’s certainly coming to prominence in recent weeks is the lack of strength and depth, a patched up back four put on a solid display on Saturday against Wolves. Among the back four were youngsters Kieron Freeman and Michael Hoganson, who both look very promising talents.
Are these young players and hopeful further improvements to the league position positive signs for a better promotion push next season? I really think there are good signs for a more ambitious season next campaign but ultimately some ambition must come from the club, surely it’s not unreasonable, as supporters, to expect a push next season. CEO Sam Rush seems quite keen on pushing the Rams forward, surely other members of the club can’t be content with mid-table?
The current squad, I believe, is just two or three bodies short of being a promotion contending side. Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick and Jamie Ward are just a few names of players that have produced real glimpses of quality this campaign. Derby do, however, seem to lack an extra experienced body to mix in with the club’s youngsters. The squad on Saturday had an average age of just 23.3, it shows that the future seems bright but an experienced, cool head would be a great addition. The left-back slot is another position that’s come under discussion recently, 18-year old Michael Hoganason did a good job against Wolves but ultimately, if the Rams are to push forward at this present time, is this enough? Gareth Roberts has had consistent spells but he is ageing so a left-back, Hoganson could be playing regularly in a couple of years but presently, I think, is a position that needs addressing.
Sam Rush mentioned, in his programme column at the weekend, that the club have offered 80% of season ticket holders freezes in their renewal prices. Derby County are also asking supporters if Derby is in their DNA as part of their season ticket campaign. The attendances this season have suggested that a lot of fans have had enough of mid table positions, will more get behind the team for next season (of course I realize that money is a factor)? It’s looking a bit more promising for the team, we’ve seen signs of a very good side this season.