A first round exit of the League Cup, particularly to a lower league opposition, is disappointing, no matter how much it is dressed up as a chance to focus on the league.
Last night Derby were poor and never really got going, it took going behind to get the Rams to show glimpses of what they can do. Darren Bent didn’t get any decent service.
The changes to the side were healthy, it was good to see players that didn’t get a chance at Bolton stake their claim. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Jamie Hanson too.
All of the money spent means the pressure is on, a win on Saturday would be perfect to settle things down a little. Of course, it’s not time to hit the panic button, Derby shouldn’t follow other Championship clubs down that route. Paul Clement is understandably finding a settled side and reliable formation (with the ability to adapt to a plan B) so there is no shame in the changing things about again on Saturday to reach a settled side. It’s early days, he is still learning about the squad and should be given time to do so.
The manager was very honest post-match and acknowledged that it took going behind to get going. Fortunately he can take a few clear points out of the game, he now knows how key George Thorne is. When he came on, he got on the ball and opened things up much more. It’s clear that with him Derby have more control over the midfield and the wider game itself. Another point is that Bent is a completely different striker to Martin – Clement has to adapt the formation if he wants to suit Bent starting the game. Even when Martin isn’t getting much service he is still involved in receiving the ball and bringing others into attack. Lastly, Clement will have little hesitation when he picks his goalkeeper in Saturday, he can certainly take that away from a disappointing night.
4-3-3 now seems likely on Saturday. A midfield three of Thorne, Dawkins and Hendrick could be interesting. Also, Forsyth back to left-back would be good!