The play-offs are coming, it’s an exciting time to be a Rams fan and, without wishing to bring everyone down, I’ve had a look at Derby’s penalty record this season.
Last time the Rams entered the play-offs, a penalty shoot-out against Southampton settled the semi-final. Another spot-kick show-down could well do the same this time. While the penalties may be a challenge of both penalty and mental nous for the players, it will certainly be a test of the heart for us fans.
Some say that penalties are a lottery, maybe they are, but I think there is skill to it, there has to be.
If you watched the recent FA Cup semi-final between Wigan and Arsenal you’ll have seen how poor the Latics’ penalties were. I’m sure they’ll be looking to improve ahead of the play-offs. It would aappear that Steve McClaren’s Rams need to too. Take a look at the stats of Derby’s penlaty record so far this season.
The stats don’t make for brilliant reading. Last season there was an issue with penalties too – Conor Sammon, Jamie Ward and Theo Robinson each tried and failed to be consistent from the spot.
I would certainly have Chris Martin down if a shout-out did arise, he’s been the most clinical of the trio that have stepped forward in the current campaign. I’m not sure I would put Craig Bryson among my first takers, even his penalty scored against Nottingham Forest was close and quite unconvincing (I’m not complaining, I love all goals against Forest!), Johnny Russell likewise.
Who else does that leave? Jamie Ward could be worth a punt again after a couple of misses last season, Patrick Bamford is obviously a good finisher and a confident young player, as well as George Thorne, he knows how to hit a ball, Jeff Hendrick likewise.