My confidence about the Rams getting promoted has naturally fluctuated throughout the season. Recently it has grown – I believed after the Forest defeat that it was a bit of a blip and hoped that a repeat of the second-half won’t be returning (there’s time yet!).
I have to say I’ve been slightly surprised at the January incomings but first a word on Jordon Ibe. What were Liverpool thinking? A daft moment of panic is my guess. Brendon Rodgers has already utilised his increasing (under the stewardship of Steve McClaren) ability and intelligence on the ball for him to take part in an under-21 fixture this week. Today he had around ten minutes from the bench, at least it was in the first team though.
The signing of Raul Albentosa was interesting to say the least. Based on watching him in the first-half against Chesterfield, he looks commanding, reflected in his height. Stephen Warnock can only add experience, Leeds United fans will be irked in a similar way to Rams fans over Ibe so far as Warnock is yet make his Rams debut.
So far, the best piece of business appears to be Darren Bent’s arrivals. A genuine plan B has been met with cheers. When Bent comes on, Derby appear to go more direct and, in Bent, they have a player that looks to make runs in behind the defence. More importantly so far has been his knack of being in the right place at the right time – proper poacher’s goals!
As well as the January addition of Bent, there’s another reason to be cheerful. George Thorne. After the palaver of singing him in the summer and then the injury, it will be quite a great moment to see him back playing in a Derby shirt. Of course he may not be back to his best straight away but I have indulged in this video (see below) in anticipation!
On to the competition and Bournemouth’s tremendous form hasn’t given off any signs of stopping, much like surprise package Burnley last season. The game at the Cherries a week on Tuesday will be quite a crunch game.