|RamsWeek 27 - Get On Your Boots!|
Mon 04th Jul 2011 01:55 by Paul Mortimer
Derby County welcomed the arrival of another significant transfer signing as the team-building continued, and the players reported back for pre-season training.
The transfer and loan market activity continued as anticipated at Pride Park Stadium, with the arrival of Scottish international forward Chris Maguire from Aberdeen and the half-season loan of Rams’ young utility player Miles Addison to Barnsley. Big Miles will benefit from first-team games whilst at Oakwell.
The Rams have finally settled their differences with Aberdeen FC regarding the compensation to be paid for the 22-year old Maguire and it’s reported that Derby will pay up to £470,000 for him. He’s joined Derby on a three-year deal, having declined a new contract at Pittodrie.
Maguire is keen to make the step up with Derby and hopes to entertain the Pride Park Stadium faithful; he’s scored a couple of spectacular goals from the halfway line so far in his career, so if he can even partly emulate a legendary Ram from the past - Steve Bloomer - who could also find the net from that distance, then Derby will certainly have found a star player!
Having also completed the signing of the fast-rising young Burton Albion goalkeeper Adam Legzdins on a three-year contract, manager Nigel Clough was also able to confirm his goalkeeping choices for 2011-12.
The Brewer’s Player of the Year was reported to have cost Derby up to £200k and with England Under-21 ‘keeper Frank Fielding signed earlier on a permanent basis to become the Rams’ No 1, the manager has revamped Derby’s goalkeeping compliment.
Derby suffered last season through goalkeeping injury and inconsistency and Clough’s will now look to move on former first-choice Stephen Bywater and stand-in Saul Deeney. Bywater fell out of favour last season at Derby but managed to participate in Cardiff City’s run-in to the play-offs.
No doubt the “Rat Man” thought he’d landed on his feet at the City Stadium and could play in the Premier League again but the Bluebirds lost out on promotion, manager Dave Jones departed and Bywater was back in the wilderness.
Young ‘keeper Ross Atkins was mooted to be moving to Burton Albion on loan but that deal hasn’t come to fruition. Derby still have junior custodian James Severn on their books as well. If Fielding proves a solid and reliable ‘keeper for Derby, that will be a major reinforcement to the spine of the team.
The Rams should also anticipate a marked improvement in the middle of defence to protect their ‘keeper, when Barker and Shackell for that partnership - and if a robust target man is added up front, the spine of Clough’s team could soon be looking very strong.
Interesting news arriving was that ex-Rams’ defender Chris Riggott (who is a free agent) is training at Derby again. Nigel Clough says that if the defender can prove his fitness, he may yet play a role at Derby County once more. Riggott has been plagued by injury over the last few seasons but Rams fans will wish him well.
Chris was a starlet at Derby County and looked to have a very promising future; he’s now 30 years old - but might still be regarded by many Rams fans as a young prodigy. He does have proven quality and if he can come through pre-season and put his injury problems behind him, everyone will be delighted.
We do already have a couple of centre-halves that have been unfortunate with injuries in Russell Anderson and Jake Buxton, so Mr Clough will not want repeats of that type of saga affecting his selections if Riggott re-joins the ranks of the Rams.
The Rams also have ex-Crewe Left back Danny Blanchett on trial; the 24-year old was looking to move on and so wasn’t offered a new contract at the Alexandra Stadium. He could provide much-needed strength in depth at full back for Nigel Clough.
Current Rams’ players James Bailey and John Brayford know Blanchett from their days with the Railwaymen, so if he links in with Derby on a contract he will have some familiar faces to help him settle.
The Rams’ first-team squad reported for training on Friday, 29th June - so it was a return to hard work and pre-season preparation as the coaches said “get on your boots” to the class of 2011-12!
You can see photos of the players stretching and straining on the official DCFC website; let’s hope that they are stretching out a lead in the Championship table over most other clubs when August comes around!
At present, manager Nigel Clough has fewer injury concerns to contend with than in previous summers; he has Paul Green out until the end of the year and captain Shaun Barker is recovering from his knee surgery but otherwise, most of the Derby squad - with a healthy injection of new talent - should soon be up and ready for the round of pre-season friendlies.
July will probably bring further inward recruitment and it’s also expected that for some established Derby players it will soon be a case of ‘get on your bike’ as well, because departures are expected. There are several squad members that the manager will see as surplus to requirements.
Ex-Rams’ wide man Gary Teale has moved to SPL side St Mirren; I know all Derby fans will echo St Mirren boss Danny Lennon’s sentiments that: "I feel we are very lucky that our club has the ambition to attract a player of quality in Gary Teale”.
The Rams have some new players now in training and I dare say that (despite an electric first few minutes on the pitch for those that remembered Gary Teale’s Derby debut) we may soon expect a little more in the way of ambition and entertainment at Derby than those anticipatory fans of St Mirren FC!
RamsWeek 27 last year saw the Derby players ‘join together’ as their pre-season training commenced…shame we weren’t a very together unit for much of the 2010-11 season!
Defender Jake Buxton underwent surgery for his groin and stomach injuries, Stephen Pearson and Dean Leacock were also under treatment and Miles Addison’s foot injury looked set to rule him out for the whole season.
Manager Clough had revamped his medical and physiotherapy staff, so the club looked toward a better fitness record that we’d seen previously.
Gary Teale joined relegated Sheffield Wednesday and Lee Croft (who?) went on loan to Huddersfield town for the rest of 2010.
Defender Gareth Roberts and forward Tomasz Cywka completed their moves to Derby County on July 1st; both signed 2-year deals.
Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson absconded to Hull City, with the relegated Tigers looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt, and Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was seen as the man to restore Liverpool’s fortunes.
Funny game, football!
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