Rams Round-Up


Here’s a summary of a few developments regarding Derby County and my thoughts.

Leon Best arrives

Blackburn Rovers striker Leon Best has joined Derby on a season’s loan.

Clearly he is a huge upgrade on Conor Sammon as cover for Chris Martin. The ex-Newcastle man fills the gap of the club needing another striker. Without Chris Martin, the team looks significantly weaker. Martin scored a brace in the Rangers friendly and a hat-trick at Notts County so hopefully this new competition brings out the best in him!

To me, it seems like Best is a good player to get on loan from a club in the same division. Could Derby have got better? I would have thought so if they wished to splash the cash but it is fairly understandable considering Chris Martin is doing so well – on the other hand, this season should be one in which another promotion push is made.

Here’s a reminder (below) of the goal he scored against the Rams in last season’s opening match.

Where does this leave Sammon?

Conor Sammon’s move to Derby hasn’t really worked. It is time to move on. Considering he is said to be one of the highest earners, it makes little sense for a high earner to be inactive on the first team scene. So, who will take him? The wages no doubt make it difficult to move him on, otherwise I’m sure Derby would be on the phone to Nigel Clough!

I was shocked to read that he scored a hat-trick in a Derby XI win over Oxford. It was behind closed doors at Moor Farm so would it be unreasonable to ask for video proof?! It could be just a publicity stunt to generate interest. Joking!

Pre-season round-up

Figures from the club’s friendlies. Please note that these only include first team matches, not Under-21 friendlies.

Matches played: 9 Goals scored: 14 Goals conceded: 6

Goalscorers: Martin 5, Hendrick 3 & Bryson, Forsyth, Bennett, Sammon, Eustace & Ward all got 1 each.

Assists: Russell 3, Hughes 2, Dawkins 2, Hendrick 2 & 1 each from Martin, Bennett, Naylor & Whitbread.

Bennett & Freeman moves off

Mason Bennett was due to move to move on loan to Sheffield United with Kieron Freeman also making the move permanently. The details are here (Derby Telegraph).

Last season Freeman was given a short run in the side and didn’t impress hugely, Adam Smith impressed even less, prompting Steve McClaren to sign Andre Wisdom on loan. Personally, I would keep him, even if that meant lending him to a League One club to continue his development with the option of bringing him back immediately because, at present, the defence is a little light and Cyrus Christie may take time to find his feet in this division. I feel that he could do a job at this level and would not doubt improve over time.

Centre-back

On Saturday, injuries caused a reshuffle in defence – Craig Forsyth slotted in at centre-back and Lee Naylor came in at left-back.

Forsyth did a good job and, with the injuries to Jake Buxton, Zak Whitbread and Mark O’Brien, could fill in there, though it would be preferable for Bucko to return for Saturday.

I think another centre-half would be welcome, especially while Whitbread remains unconvincing for many and O’Brien continues to struggle with injuries. However, there is Jamie Hanson knocking on the door, but, without wishing to prevent emerging talent, it really is the time that the Rams can make the leap to a top two side.

Will Hughes impresses

In the friendly at the weekend, Will Hughes played in the central defensive midfield role to good effect; he wasn’t afraid to put in a tackle or two in and generally looked comfortable.

Still, the youngster doesn’t convince me for the role full time. Yes, he played well against Rangers but they are not the European Cup side they once were so it is a match that we maybe shouldn’t read too much into.

A player in the George Thorne role remains a must for me. It was mentioned in the Sportscene Talk-In last night that he isn’t the man for the role in matches such as the Leicester ones, the Burnley ones of last season – clubs with hardworking and bullies of midfielders at times.

(Since writing this article, Derby have captured a Real Madrid midfielder on loan)

Forest in turmoil again

This isn’t strictly Rams related but naturally I took an interest!

It really isn’t a surprise anymore. The details are here.

The club is crying out for someone who has been involved in the English game for a long time at boardroom level.

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