Occasionally I post about my beloved Rams because I just enjoy airing my opinions. I must admit that I have been highly critical of the manager Nigel Clough because in the past his negative approach and ultra defensive tactics have cost us points.
In addition I believe that he is a 'company' man in that he has been instructed to reduce the wages bill and to do that he has ignored one or two better players when he should have fielded them in times of crisis. One of them, Stephen Pearson, yesterday evening, scored the only goal for his loan team Bristol City against league leaders Southampton away from home. There is another player who could make the starting eleven, Dean Leacock, but I suspect for the reason of economics he is being ignored. I don't like that.
Nigel Clough's forays into the transfer market are patchy. He has signed a plethora of players who have never made the grade. I won't go into details but when they have paid out money it has been successful. The defensive combination of Sean Barker and Jason Shackell has twice recently proven resolute under extreme pressure. They have held firm when in recent games they would have crumbled.
So on this New Year's Eve of 2012 let me praise Darren Wassall the boss of the youth team. Already we have had so many academy players promoted to the first team squad. Currently in the championship picture are Callum Ball, Jeff Hendrick, Mark O'Brien ( injured) Will Hughes (aged 16) and Mason Bennett (aged 15). This is a remarkable record and it is compounded because the academy team this year has already knocked out Arsenal (away from home) and now face a game against Manchester United (away from home).
I have been highly critical of Nigel in the past. I do not like his tactics or his psychology because this team often freezes towards the end of a game. I cannot remember a time when the Rams actually attack during the last ten minutes of a game. Currently during the whole season we have not scored a goal in the last 15 minutes! This is purely because Nigel is so scared that we concede a goal that he panics. Witness the game against Peterborough when we lost a two goal lead because he tried to defend it instead of going for a third goal to win the game.
Like most football fans I have hopes. We have improved and currently we are moving better than local rivals Leicester and Forest, the latter have not scored a goal for seven games! Oh deep joy! The Rams are moving forward on a shoestring. It is probably not enough.