The drubbing at Leicester City last week was awful to watch. At times, it was shambolic but let’s not forget the resources available to the Foxes in comparison to the young Derby County side on show.
It’s been well-documented that the team selection was wrong and missing the experience and know-how of John Eustace.
During the season the Rams have struggled at the hands of the league’s very top teams; Leicester, Burnley and Reading out-muscled Derby in the early stages of the campaign. Although the league position still looks healthy, that form must improve – you won’t face a mediocre side in the play-offs.
Today the Derby Telegraph reported that there aren’t currently any plans to add to the squad during the January transfer window, with loans being more likely. I firmly believe that the current squad is perfectly adequate, has more depth than recent years and contains spades of quality however I think a new face or two would be more than ideal for a promotion push.
Fourth in the league is where the club currently sits. I don’t think chances like this come around too often to gain promotion so that’s why an extra face or two could be necessary, perhaps a midfielder. John Eustace’s job has been done marvellously but he is prone to picking up bookings here and there and will there ever be a reasonable balance between Craig Bryson, Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes? The trio are great individually, yet shuffling them up together hasn’t always worked effectively. On the other hand, James Bailey is back in the side and shouldn’t be discounted. A competitive edge lacked last week in that area and balls weren’t won.
The other day I noticed that Kevin Phillips has made his way to Leicester City. Now there’s a guy that would’ve been good. Looking beyond his age and in the more immediate future, his experience and nous inside the penalty area will be of huge value to the Foxes. I know it’s easy of me to say ‘someone like that would be good’ but there may be someone available out there to aid this push. I just believe that getting into this position at this stage and not making a big go of it would be a travesty.
If you’ve made it to this point near the top, it’s clear that you’re serious contenders and not on an early season bout of form. Five of the top six in the Championship table at this point last year got a spot in the top six. An extra face would strengthen Derby’s current chances, whether that comes in this window or another quality loan signing. Let’s see what happens.
Tomorrow Brighton visit for a top six clash. Having Richard Keogh available is a massive boost. The visiting Seagulls are a different side to the one that was turned over by the magic maroon Derby side back in August.