Ahead of Tuesday’s vital game against Middlesbrough, I have asked Everything MFC how things are at the Riverside to get a glimpse into the game and the wider promotion picture.
1) Has the season so far gone how you expected it to?
Given Aitor Karanka’s additions in the summer transfer window I was quietly confident that we could clinch a play-off spot, but with the way things have gone so far I don’t see why we can’t go up automatically. I’d say this season has so far been more successful than what I initially expected.
2) How do you think Boro will approach the game at Derby?
In a typical Aitor Karanka way – only concentrating on ourselves and making sure the team deal with being under pressure. They’re aware it’s a big game and in recent matches it has been a bit scrappy, but the only thing that will matter for the players is the possibility of a huge three points and I’m sure the players will go out there only thinking about that.
3) Patrick Bamford was impressive on loan at Derby, what do you think of him?
He’s our best striker for sure. Intelligent, quick feet and brilliant at pulling away from his marker to find space, as you probably already know from when he scored against you back in December. I’d put him up there as one of our best signings of the season. However, Bamford has been wasted out on the right recently and tends to cut inside (as you would do being a centre forward) leaving the right hand side a little vulnerable. If he starts on Tuesday night it must be up front rather than out wide.
4) Who will cause the Rams the most trouble?
Obviously Bamford will be one player Derby fans are wary of having already scored against them earlier in the season, but there’s other players that can cause the Rams problems. Lee Tomlin operates in the no.10 role just behind the striker and, although not the quickest, has incredible dribbling and skill to get past players. I’m sure you saw the turn he did that left Vincent Kompany for dead when we faced Manchester City in the cup. There is also Kike, who isn’t exactly firing at the moment but can still cause defenders problems, he offers good link up play with those around him, keeping hold of the ball to bring others into play. If he has worked on his shooting over the past few training session then he could make the difference.
5) Lastly, what is your score prediction & which 3 teams do you think will win promotion?
Derby away is a fixture that doesn’t bring me much confidence (I’m probably still scarred from that last minute Conor Sammon winner back in 2013) but I’m going for a 2-2. Ince and Russell to get on the scoresheet for you and Bamford and Tomlin to get on the scoresheet for us.
In terms of promotion, I think yourselves, us and Bournemouth will go up.
Many thanks to Everything MFC for taking the time to answer.