Eight games without victory is a horrible run of results, or you could say one win in twelve outings – both demonstrating the awful decline in results on the pitch. Six points separates the Rams from the relegation zone, leaving everybody connected to the club in the situation of looking over their shoulders towards that fear.
Derby host Leicester in Saturday’s late kick-off and could find themselves as close as three points above the drop zone when proceedings commence at 5:20 PM at Pride Park. Elsewhere, Burton Albion occupy an automatic promotion spot in League Two and are in their best every league position – could they be in the same league as the Rams next season? It’s a crazy thought but it could happen, if the Rams aren’t careful.
Not too long ago we were all discussing whether Nigel Clough’s side could sneak a play-off position, so what exactly has happened since then?
We have seen a huge decline in the finishing, the inability to finish off the ‘on a plate’ chances has cost the club dearly. The Rams scored three past promotion chasing Middlesbrough on New Year’s day and hit five past Tranmere just days later in the FA Cup.
The current squad clearly aren’t sufficiently equipped enough to maintain the form we have seen produced in other parts of the season. Two players have had to be drafted in on loan and youngsters Michael Hoganson and Valentin Gjokaj have been forced to make their full debuts, in recent weeks. What baffles me is that five senior players are out on loan – surely they could be recalled to cover or not sent there in the first place? Callum Ball and James Bailey are at Coventry, Nathan Tyson is at Millwall, Theo Robinson is at Huddersfield and Tom Naylor is at Grimsby.
It’s clear that the squad does need to be bolstered this summer, desperately. As well as we’ve seen the youngsters perform this season more experience is needed in the squad, evident when we can’t see out games after taking a lead. The effects of playing alongside Robbie Savage in the 2010/2011 season for a then-young James Bailey were fantastic at time. As Steve Nicholson, Rams reporter for the Derby Telegraph, mentions – an opportunity in January for additions was dearly missed, we could be talking about a completely different season had good additions been implemented. Give Nicholson’s thoughts on that a read, they’re very interesting and spot on – click the link here.
After the recent run of results many supporters have turned on both the manager and the board. I really don’t believe Nigel Clough should be sacked. Occasionally, Clough’s tactics during games do frustrate me but he has worked on a very tight budget and turned a poor squad into a squad that have much more desire. For me, he needs money to spend in the summer from those of power in the club – surely they’re ready to push the club from mid-table/bottom half strugglers to top six contenders? I think it’s time they did and Clough deserves a chance to do that with the club, with a bit money to buy the necessary additions.