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Like father like son?

  1. Like father like son?

    Like father like son?


    Between 1967 and 1973 Brian Clough had delivered success to Derby County like they’d never seen before, or since.

    During those six years he’d brought them both the Second division (Championship) and First division (Premier League) titles as well as a European cup semi final, where they lost 3-1 to Juventus.

    Despite bringing this success, Clough eventually fell out with the chairman and left the club … we all know what happened next!

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    Despite Derby winning the title again a year after Clough left, they only had another 5 seasons in the top flight before being relegated back down to the second division. Further misery came with yet another relegation, this time to the 3rd division, just 4 years later.

    They bounced back and eventually graced the Premier League once more, 16 years after playing their last game there. Derby cemented themselves as a mid-table side before being relegated again in 2002.

    Despite a brief stint in the 2007-2008 season, where they claimed the lowest ever points tally of a Premier League side, Derby haven’t been back in the big time.


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    They’ve spent the last 8 seasons trying to get back into the Premier League, the closest they’ve come is a losing play off finalist in 2013-2014 and a losing play off semi finalist last season.

    Is this the season Derby can finally get back to the big time?

    The man to bring them this success …. The son of Brian, Nigel Clough.


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    Clough Jr had a brilliant playing career, scoring over 100 goals for Derby’s fierce rivals, Nottingham Forest before moving on to Liverpool, Man City and eventually Burton.

    Clough did spent 4 years managing Derby between 2009 and 2013 where he cemented the club in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League.

    Clough was eventually relieved of his duties after finishing 18th, 14th 19th and 12th during his 4 years at the club.

    Clough then moved onto Sheffield United where he saved them from relegation from League One before securing promotion to the Championship with Burton for the first time in their history.


    So, let’s see if we can emulate his father’s success …


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  2. Pre-Season


    So, my first job at the club is to check in on the players to see what I've got to work with:


    GOALKEEPERS
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    Scott Carson - A reliable number one who should be plenty good enough for Championship football and will be first choice.

    Kelle Roos - He's been at the club a while without breaking into the first team. Probably not good enough, even for back up, and a replacement may be needed.


    We generally look okay here but I worry in case Carson picks up an injury or suspension. We may look for a cheap understudy to replace Kelle Roos.


    CENTER BACKS
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    Jason Shackell - A decent player with bags of Championship experience. He's also had 3 separate promotions from this division which can only help.

    Richard Keogh - Derby through and through after being at the club for 5 years, also club captain.

    Alex Pearce - Not really been a success at Derby so far and will be 3rd choice for me as well. My only concern are his wages which are far too high for someone of his ability who won't even be playing every week.


    We lack depth here and could probably do with one more addition. I'm also tempted to try and off-load Alex Pearce and bring down the wage bill, I doubt anyone will take him on with those wages though.



    FULL BACKS
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    Cyrus Christie - A very good player for this level and can also be used as a real attacking threat.

    Craig Forsyth - A decent enough full back who will have to fight for his place in this team.

    Ikechi Anya - Could be argued that he prefers a more attacking role but looks just as good as full back. A very useful and versatile player. His high wages concern me again though.

    Chris Baird - A totally different player, much better defensively but quite poor going forward. Will be useful as can play in a number of positions.

    Marcus Olsson - Another good option with Premier League experience and bags of pace. Will more than likely be first choice left back.


    We've good good squad depth here which shouldn't need much altering. The wage of Ikechi Anya is my only concern so we may look for a cheaper replacement.



    MIDFIELD
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    Julien De Sart - Only recently joined on loan, he looks a decent prospect but will more than likely just be back up.

    George Thorne - A very good player who's been so unlucky with injuries. He's currently recovering from a broken leg and won't take to the field again until the end of the year.

    Will Hughes - Our shining light, and by far our best player. This kid has real potential, I just hope he realises it with us. We'll try and build the team around this lad.

    Bradley Johnson - Another very capable player who brings even more Championship experience.

    Craig Bryson - Probably Johnson's biggest challenger for the other midfield spot.

    Jacob Butterfield - A slightly different player but arguably just as useful. He can play in central midfield but prefers are more advances position.


    By quite a way our best position on the pitch, we've loads of choice and variation with some real quality in there as well. I can't see us making any changes here.


    FORWARDS

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    Tom Ince - Just like Will Hughes, I have big plans for Tom Ince and really think he can grow with the club. Only young but already vital to us.

    Matej Vydra - Not been at the club long but should be one of the better strikers in the division. He performed brilliant when he was last in the Championship with Watford a few years ago.

    Abdoul Camara - Probably more of a squad player for either wing. Looks very quick but will more than likely spend most of his time on the bench.

    Nick Blackman - Very similar to Camara, although he can play up front which gives him a slight edge.

    Johnny Russell - Another fan favourite and good Championship player. I think he'd struggle to make the step up but for now is more than useful.

    David Nugent - Another recent signing and someone else on big money. I was shocked that he's only 31 as he seems to have been around for ages. Looks a good player and can hopeful forge a partnership with Cydra.

    Darren Bent - Not what he used to be but could still prove important. But, £30k a week wages if far too much for squad player.

  3. Pre-Season 2016


    So, after reviewing the squad, it was time to see what the board expected of me ...

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    I think these are pretty fair to be honest, the play off's should be the minimum for this squad given the money spent recently!

    They also don't see too bothered about the cup's which suits me with the league being the main target.


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    To achieve these expectations the board have given me an additional £4 million to spend.

    Given the recent transfer values being spent in the Championship, this isn't ridiculously high but should be enough to improve the squad.





    Signings


    I'm pleased with the squad we have and think it should be plenty good enough for the play offs and have an outside hope of the top two.

    Despite this, I had £4 million to spend and it would be rude not to spend any of it.


    Initially though, we struggled ...

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    Our first disappointment was Leon Osman joining Newcastle rather than us. I suppose I can't really blame him with Newcastle massive favourites for the title.

    He'd have probably only been a squad player but would have added some good experience and good competition for places.


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    Things got even worse when he were turned down again by highly rated Man Utd defender, Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

    Looking at the clubs interested in him, I guess we were being quite ambitious. He also turned down, Ajax, Bordeaux and Celtic before joining Fenerbache on loan.



    We then got desperate! ...

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    Sylvain Distin was the final player to turn us down.

    Despite being 38 years old, I still felt he could do a job for us as either 3rd or 4th choice center back. He played 12 games in the Premier League last season for Bournemouth so can't have totally lost is.

    Sadly he chose Saint-Etienne instead.






    By this point he had finished our pre-season fixtures and were ready for the season ahead.

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    Pretty pleased with this really.

    It went about as well as it could have done with 5 straight wins and a ridiculous 29 goals scored.

    David Nugent was undoubtedly our best player during these games, scoring 10 goals in 5 games including 2 hattricks. The standard of the opposition was poor but it should give the lads some confidence going forward if nothing else.


    We'll need to take this confidence into the league with a pretty tough start to come ...

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    We start the hard way by facing last years play off semi finalists Brighton at home, followed by two away trips to Barnsley and Preston.

    Sandwiched in between is a League Cup tie against League One Bury before we finish the month with a local Derby against Burton, the first time the clubs will have met in a competitive game.
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  5. August 2016


    Pre-season out of the way and we're put right into the thick of it with a difficult opener against Brighton.

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    What a statement!

    A brilliant 3-0 win over one of the promotion favourites. An early goal from Bradley Johnson, followed by a second half brace from Will Hughes ensured we took all 3 points.

    I had worried about this game, especially with our lack of signings, but there really wasn't any need!



    LEAGUE CUP
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    We were more comfortable than the score line suggests here, being 3-0 up after the hour mark. We made 10 changes for this game but still impressed without having the fluidity of the Brighton game.



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    A late Barnsley goal made this closer than it should have been in truth.

    David Nugent’s first goal of the season with the opener early on. Tom Ince doubled our lead just before the hour mark which should have seen us home and dry. Our first away game of the season though and we came through it with flying colours.



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    A brilliant performance from David Nugent effectively won us the game single handedly.

    4 goals sandwiched in between a headed goal from Johnny Russell, his first of the season. Some of our defensive form does concern me a little, conceding 3 goals in the last 2 games.



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    Really disappointing!

    Villa raced into a 2-0 lead before we even got going. I really thought we could get back into the game when Bryson halved their lead, Villa showed their class and put the game to bed 10 minutes later as we suffer our first defeat of the season.



    LEAGUE CUP
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    Another 9 changes made here who really made hard work of this.

    We were always in control but once again our defence nearly cost us the game! After twice pegging us back, we eventually got the winner through Bradley Johnson with just 2 minutes remaining.


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    A tougher game than you’d think with Burton in 2nd place.

    We raced into a 2-0 lead with another brace from David Nugent, we couldn’t hold onto this though with Burton levelling within 10 minutes. We re-took the lead through a fine strike from Will Hughes before Burton once again levelled.

    Our defensive problems really need looking at as we’re scoring plenty but conceding far too many.





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    We have to be pleased with our opening month, with some really impressive results and lots of goals scored. The win over Brighton has to be most pleasing!

    I am concerned though about how many goals we're conceding, we're scoring plenty conceding far too many for my liking.


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    Early days I know but we're challenging at the top of the table already.

    Newcastle are unsurprisingly setting a hot pace for the rest of the league to match.





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    David Nugent just misses out on winning the player of the month award, scoring one goal less than Newcastle's Dwight Gale.

    I had got some reservations about Nugent and his goal record but he's totally proved me wrong so far.


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    More recognition for the club as Will Hughes claims the young player of the month award.

    3 goals in 5 games is pretty impressive from midfield. I’ve got big plans for this lad as I really think he can go all the way, hopefully with us.





    PLAYER OF THE MONTH
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    DAVID NUGENT


    7 goals in 5 games is brilliant, especially for more of a target man style of forward. If he can keep this up then it should see us challenging towards the top.

  6. Deadline day

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    With our terrible defensive record so far this season, I was determined to bring in a couple of defensive additions:


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    This might seem like a strange transfer, however I was nervous about not having a real second choice ‘keeper at the club.

    Despite being 40 years old, I still think Sorenson can come and do a job and play a handful of games or so.

    With 17 years of Premier League experience, I’m sure he’ll offer the lads loads off the pitch if nothing else and can hopefully keep Scott Carson on his toes on it.


    The next signing was one a little bigger ...


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    Quite possibly best center half in the division while at Brighton.

    With Brighton having a slow start to the season we took our chance and took one of their star players.

    It took big money for him to join, £7million rising to £9million and over £20k per week wages, but he really could be the difference and take us up, and if he does then it'll be money well spent.


    That's our spending done for the window, these lads will have to do us until January at least now.
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  7. September 2017

    A good start to the season but another tough month to follow, most notably, Championship favorites Newcastle.


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    A good point here to start the month against without doubt the divisions best side.

    In truth, Newcastle battered us but a really good defensive performance ensured we don’t leave empty handed. Lewis Dunk made his debut and it seemed to work with us recording our first clean sheet since the opening day of the season.


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    Back to our best here!

    We look a totally different team with Dunk in the line up, he gives us the confidence to attack more knowing we’ll be solid at the back. He even opened the scoring with a great header before Ikechi Anya scored his first of the season after recovering from injury recently.

    Tom Ince then rounded things off with the best of the bunch, a great right footed effort from the edge of the box.


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    Back to our old shelves here! Goalkeeper, Scott Carson was fault for two of the goals but this doesn’t excuse our poor first half performance.

    Because we went 1-0 down early, we had to go more attacking and threw two strikers on, this left the game far too open and played into their hands. Will Hughes even had a chance to win it late on but smashed his effort onto the crossbar.


    LEAGUE CUP
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    We made 7 changes again for the cup game and just fell short against a full strength QPR side. I’m a little disappointed to lose but our only aim this season is promotion. A missed penalty from Nick Blackman though means this was an opportunity wasted.


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    We needed a performance after the last couple of results, and that’s exactly what we got!

    A 46 minute hattrick from David Nugent put the game to bed early on before Darren Bent came off the bench to score the best of the lot, a great finish from a really tight angle. Thomas Sørensen made his debut, coming in for the out of form Scott Carson, he played well and couldn’t be faulted for the Blackburn consolation goal.


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    A nice way to finish the month, although once again, this could have been so much easier.

    I was pretty pleased with our performance but every time we went in front Cardiff pegged us back. That was until Tom Ince scored his second of the day and 4th of the season to secure the win with 20 minutes to go.





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    Another good month with just one defeat in 6 games, and that was only in the League Cup.

    We proved we deserved to be towards the top of the league as well with a well fought 0-0 draw against Newcastle. We've continued to score plenty of goals but still conceding too many, despite shoring up a little bit.





    Our good form was even recognised further afield ...

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    Top Ince winning the player of the month award with 3 goals from 5 games from midfield. But it wasn't just him getting praise, Marcus Olsson coming third after a really impressive month.

    He recorded one assist and an average of 7.74.




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    We stay towards the top of the league and still very much fighting for the top two places.

    Still very early days but it looks good so far.






    Player of the month

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    TOM INCE


    He's really shown his best form this month for another player I have big plans for. He had a slow start to the season but has hit some fine form now which he needs to maintain.

    When I arrived, I had planned on fitting the team around this lad and Will Hughes.
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