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RamsWeek 31 - Get Into The Groove!
RamsWeek 31 - Get Into The Groove!
Monday, 2nd Aug 2010 01:02 by Paul Mortimer

Derby County’s pre-season programme came to a climax with games against two Premier League teams and other local fixtures, whilst the manager was active in the transfer market.

18-year-old Texan forward Conor Doyle is in the throes of leaving his college work in the USA to sign a deal with Derby County. He may be one for the future but has looked the part among his first-team colleagues during Derby’s pre-season games.

The Rams put on a bright performance at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday night to beat Premier League Stoke City 1-0, courtesy of an early goal from Chris Porter. Kris Commons (who else?) provided the cross and the Rams then held their own, defending solidly with Leacock and Anderson as the central pairing, whilst troubling the Potters’ usually robust defence throughout the game.

Robbie Savage and Rob Hulse missed the game, both with groin strains. That’s been a regular occurrence with Hulse over the past campaign, so here’s hoping Chris Porter will stay fit.

With Savage, young James Bailey is being groomed to take up a central midfield role which may become more prominent as Savage’s playing career winds down.

Apart from his Radio 5 Live Saturday date as co-presenter of the Saturday night football phone-in, Savage is promoting his autobiography next week, whilst he also builds up the momentum of his media career on Radio 5 Live in the new season. I must admit to being somewhat more interested in Derby County’s momentum!

Derby’s new away shirt was launched at half time during the Stoke match and it is a variation on the ‘beach’ colours of yester-year, being a bright yellow shirt and mid-blue shorts with yellow socks.

It’s quite breezy, and (thankfully) not as fluorescent as the previous ‘slime green’ second strip. I’m sure, however, that you already know the answer to the question: ‘am I going to shell out £40 on a 2010-11 Derby away shirt?’

There’s been no significant transfer action, as Clough is yet to finalise a deal with young American Conor Doyle; Derby may also sign Ilkeston Town striker Abalimba ‘if the deal is right’. Must be expensive!

Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper moved to Celtic for a reported £2.4m - so both of Derby County’s main transfer targets for the forward line as named by Tom Glick (back when the season ticket renewal deadlines loomed), have moved to other clubs for substantial fees.

Manager Clough didn’t feel the move was right, anyway so that’s that. He is still active in the market (seemingly for a loanee striker) and says he is in touch with several clubs to land one or two more players.

Ex-Rams keeper Lee Grant has moved to relegated Burnley; perhaps another Owls’ ex-Ram, Marcus Tudgay, could be considered for a move back to Derby to pep up our striking options?

Midfielder Paul Green has won another international call up with the Republic of Ireland and will feature in their forthcoming friendly versus Argentina, who have just dispensed with the services of coach Diego Maradona.

Derby’s second pre-season meeting with Burton Albion was a Bass Charity Vase date on Wednesday at the Pirelli Stadium. The Rams fielded a mixture of experience and youth, with a sprinkling of trialists and won 3-1 and a squad team won 2-0 at Solihull Moors.

Jake Buxton made a comeback from injury in the game as a substitute and had 20 minutes to ease himself back into action. With Sean Barker missing, Leacock and Anderson had another game as the central defensive pairing.

Barker will miss the big kick-off at Elland Road next Saturday and so the combination that started at Burton will no doubt continue.

The Rams met Birmingham City in the main pre-season friendly and lost 2-1. Derby started well but their neat football didn’t bring its rewards. Derby went behind after half an hour, when full back David Murphy was allowed to get his head to Larsson’s corner.

Stephen Bywater gifted Brum a goal by dithering, his eventual clearance bouncing back off Larsson and into Derby’s net. Roberts pulled a goal back for Derby with a crashing drive and the Rams recovered well in the latter stages.

It’s been a satisfactory pre-season and Derby has been evolving a passing style of football as the get into the groove for the new campaign. Let’s hope they can sustain it with enough steel, resilience and determination to ensure that we are not haunted by meandering around the lower reaches of the Championship as in the past two seasons.

A crowd of fewer than 4,500 registered the lack of interest, however, in what was essentially a public practice match, as opposed to last year’s pre-season clash with Stoke which drew 23,000. I’d say the £12 ticket prices for the Brum game made the difference!

So, apart from a couple of other Midland’s friendlies for the squad during next week, Clough’s men are all set for the big-kick off to 2010-11 at Leeds. Get at ‘em, lads!


RamsWeek 31 last year saw Sir Bobby Robson ‘knockin’ on heaven’s door’, as the Geordie Gentleman passed on, aged 76. Football paid warm tributes to the great man.

Rams fans would have their own permanent tribute by which to remember a great Derby gentleman, as the rebuilt entrance from the Baseball Ground in honour or our former chairman Lionel Pickering was to be unveiled at Pride Park Stadium at the start of the new  season, the monument is to be known as Pickering Gate.

Derby were set to sign ex-Burton Albion goalkeeper Saul Deeney, whilst diabolical defender Claude ‘Clod’ Davies was set to sing for Crystal Palace. Jordan Stewart, Martin Albrechtsen and Roy Carroll were also poised at the exit door. Good.

Derby won two more warm up games, at Matlock and Notts County, by a 3-2 margin, manager Clough using a mixture of senior and junior players. Chris Porter was troubled by a hip injury and Rob Hulse was still recovering from injury.

The Rams also lost the Bass Charity Vase game with Burton Albion 0-1 and then won 3-0 at Alfreton Town. Derby’s ‘showpiece’ pre-season match at Pride Park Stadium saw them gain a 2-2 draw with Premier League Stoke City, courtesy of a last-minute goal from Arnaud Mendy.



Photo: Action Images

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