Derby County made it two 1-0 wins in a row on Tuesday night with victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Again, like the QPR match, the Rams managed to win in spite of not being the best team on the night – one of the most significant promotion credentials.
In a match of little quality, loanee Patrick Bamford produced a moment of magic to grab the three points. I’ve watched it now three or four times – so sweetly struck.
It’s moments like that that mean Bamford is worth keeping on the pitch in scrappy Championship encounters for the edge he can provide. The Chelsea striker is one of a few loans that have helped the side’s Premier League push and huge credit must go to the club for attracting and identifying such pivotal loans.
Post-match Rams fans could again admire the zeal on show from defender Jake Buxton with another spirited photo (below).
Craig Bryson, Chris Martin, John Eustace and Andre Wisdom have been the main stand-out performers this season. Bucko can be added to that list.
Not too long ago I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him follow Nigel Clough to Sheffield United. The defender’s efforts, the way he was fended off competition from Michael Keane and Zak Whitbread this season to cement a first eleven place and the wonderful improvement he has made since joining (when he hadn’t tasted life above League Two) have been commended.
First-team coach Paul Simpson acknowledged Clough’s influence on the ex-Brewer and hailed his work under the new regime “Nigel was good for Jake but Jake has been absolutely magnificent for us”.
Does this make him a contender for player of the season? There is nobody on the pitch that expresses their delight and sheer fervour for the club more than him.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game at the iPro against 15th-placed Bournemouth, there is a chance for Derby to put another foot on third place and even leapfrog Burnley into second place.
The Cherries have won just three on the road, however their record against the division’s top sides away is quite commendable. Over the season they have picked up a win at Reading and draws at Burnley and Forest so it’s clear that the match will be more than a walkover.
Worryingly for Eddie Howe and co, the Rams are in imperial form and lead the Championship’s form table with East Midlands counterparts Leicester City and Nottingham Forest. That match against the Reds on March 22 is looking like the most important between the rivals for a very long time.
This weekend there is a venomous fixture at the top of the Championship. Burnley play hosts to Forest, while QPR travel to Charlton and Rangers have won just one of their last four away from home so maybe that’ll be a banana skin for the Championship giants. Leicester, in the form they’re in, appear to have a pretty routine fixture in the form of a home game against Ipswich.
Take a look at the current top six below and cast your votes in the polls.