|Derby Must Let Nigel Spend Now Davies Is Down|
Fri 16th Jul 2010 14:52 by Daniel J Sewart
The news that Steve Davies will miss at least the first half of the new season proves that the fortunes of the Rams in 10/11 could once again be decided by how many players will be fit enough to make it onto the pitch.
Although one can only hope the Porter and Buxton injuries will not become long term the amount of injury prone players in the squad has risen to a level where it could simply be a case of no amount of fitness and preparation can protect against further problems.
With the likes of Commons and Leacock likely to go down if tackled by a small feather (please prove me wrong!!), fans of the Rams will be gasping with every physical encounter they are involved in. It is not advisable to hold your breath each time a Derby player looks injured or by the end of the season there will be as many fans on the treatment table as players.
Davies was supposed to be a major part of the clubs attacking intent last season and after only managing a total of 20 matches since arriving in 2008, it is perhaps time to admit that he is unlikely to ever provide answers to any of the questions being asked.
Nigel Clough has worked long and hard on toughening up his chargers and trying to prevent possible injuries and was understandably downbeat when delivering the latest injury news:
"We are devastated for Steven. It is a real blow and a kick in the teeth for him, and my heart goes out to him. He is heartbroken."
"He has shown a terrific attitude and willingness to get himself right for the new season. He was looking in terrific shape and we were delighted with how he was coming on”.
"I have no doubt that if he applies himself to his rehabilitation like he has done over the last few months to get fit then he can bounce back from this and still play a big part in our season. Steven was a key element of our plans for the forthcoming season."
If Davies is still to make a huge impact on the season then it will come later in proceedings and the Rams cannot afford to be waiting for reinforcements as they were last season.
It has been disappointing for most fans that after promises of money to be spent that little seems to be forthcoming if higher than a nominal fee. The fact that Michael Tonge and Gary Hooper are said to be out of our reach is a sad reflection of how little the board seems willing to back a promotion push.
Surely the performances of Tonge last season in particular warranted the club chasing his signature. He was a regular contributor who looked dangerous and added experience and reliability to what had been up to that point, a shaky midfield. Better still he wanted to come back and easily looked as committed as any player has in a Derby shirt for many a year.
I admit I am not privy to club finances or what figures opposition clubs are asking for our targets but it seems ludicrous that a Scunthorpe player and an unwanted Stoke player should really be out of the financial reach of a club of our size and supporter base.
It is time for the purse strings to be loosened and for Nigel to be able to bring in at least a couple of bigger money signings without relying on players being sold. Having to rely on players he inherited on long term contracts and high wages should not have to haunt him into his second full season, especially as those players rarely even make it onto the park.
It is time to cut the deadwood and bring in some fresh timber. For the Rams to go forward the Davies injury should act as a warning bell that a mirror image of last season is only a few tough tackles away.
No longer should Nigel and the fans have to rely on players that, no matter how positive your outlook or how hard they are working, are likely to come undone just when you need them the most.
I hope I am wrong but the cracks are already appearing. It is up to the board and the board alone to either once again paper over them and pray for some luck or this time give their manager a decent tool kit and fill them in once and for all.
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Daniel J Sewart