Hello again after a brief hiatus on here. A bit has happened since my last post, including the long-awaited return of John Eustace. All hail the Eust!
2014 has been an eventful year for the Rams, who have dazzled the Championship. Wins over Forest and Brighton, as well as other demolitions will live long in the memory. McClaren’s men went agonisingly close at Wembley, making it the year that really might have been ours.
3rd going into the New Year isn’t bad, after all it is a highly competitive league. Yet, still, I am left disappointed. January investment is key – the squad has a lot of ability but a bit extra is needed to get the team over the line. With the team so near to the top and firmly in the promotion mix, an opportunity like this can’t be missed – investment could get an instant return.
Last night’s win against Leeds was a great display or more of a combination of the home team’s brilliance and Leeds’ awful display. Normal service has been resumed in the Derby-Leeds rivalry. Jordan Ibe’s positivity on the ball and the neat play of Will Hughes was joyful, while the ferocity of Johnny Russell continues to win him deserved plaudits from the stands.
At the halfway stage it’s fair to say the Rams’ season so far has been a combination of wonderful, frustrating and exciting. I suspect those words will carry right through. Watching the game at Leeds (and the fish that escaped from the sea, 10-year-old Anya) and hiding behind the sofa for the awful display at Middlesbrough served an important reminder – nothing is guaranteed and the team must do a lot more for automatic promotion.
Here are a few predictions for 2015….
Mac to stay
Who is it that gave the manager merry-go round a swing before the new year? McClaren will naturally be linked with jobs but he’ll stay, I hope. He knows he has something good here.
This is difficult other than Ryan Shotton signing permanently. A loan from the Premier League would fit with the Mac’s profile, last January he signed Patrick Bamford and George Thorne on loan. I live in the hope that we’ll be surprised with a game-changing arrival but I can’t see it. Maybe there’ll be a signing from abroad, a youngster maybe, but I don’t think the main framework of the team will be impacted.
What about the over side of the A52?
Things will continue to plummet for a short while longer. A loss at Rochdale in the FA Cup won’t improve things. Fans will get restless and Stuart Pearce won’t be in the dugout for the East Midlands derby on the 17th of January.
He’ll be back with a bang. It’ll be none of this ‘it’ll take time for him to settle’ rubbish, he’ll come back in and show us what we’ve missed.
I’m not sure if that’s hope, rather than prediction. You’ve got to like the optimism!
Play-offs, automatics or none?
As for the important one, I am going to go for 2nd place with Middlesbrough winning the league. Bournemouth and Ipswich will be huge competitors too. Predicting the Championship is impossible though.