In case anybody hadn’t noticed, there’s a football match this weekend. It’s that football match – the one that we like to look out for when the fixtures are announced. Of course, it being preview day has been rather overshadowed by the loan signing of Jermaine Jenas from Spurs. The perpetually injured midfielder has been deemed surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane so joins us for a month.
The romanticist in me likes the idea – but of course, he typically occupies a position on the pitch where we’re quite well stocked. However, I suppose the argument at Sean O’Driscoll would use would be if he’s fit to play, then he adds a rather higher calibre of skill to some of our existing options, and of course Guedioura has gone and got himself suspended. Despite my slight confusion, a big welcome back to Jermaine.
So, Derby. We are both in the indifferent bracket of form – they sit a couple of points behind us, and we both lost in our last games. Our form is quite similar, both only winning a couple of games at home so far – Derby have lost two and drawn one on their travels. Of course, looking at form when contemplating this fixture would be a fool’s forecast.
I’m lucky enough to number a few Derby fans amongst my friends – and having gleaned information from them it seems we are more similar than we’d care to admit. The direct style we’ve become accustomed too from our neighbours seems to be making way for attempts to get the ball on the deck with a much more lightweight looking line-up going forward – having said that, many goals are coming from setpieces.
Must admit, I’ve been a bit haphazard at catching the Football League Show much this season – but when I’ve caught it and Derby have scored they seem to specialise at the set-piece into the box, a defender steamrollering through the box and scoring a header. I’m hoping that the referee is on the ball for this, particularly given Dex had a perfectly decent goal ruled out up at Elland Road, yet some of the goals I’ve seen have involved Derby players getting piggy backs from defenders!
It would be refreshing to face a team that doesn’t try to stifle us in midfield, I’m dubious that will happen as both sides will be probably initially focused on being cautious – probably. This fixture has a habit of being eventful – I’ll be honest, whilst there’s a certain buzz to that kind of thing, I think it’s high time we actually saw the sides try to have a decent game of football for a change instead of all the playground antics!
The other tidbit my friend gave me was that youngster Coutts looks a dangerous prospect on the right – which is a bit of a worry, as we have looked vulnerable down our left side – and guilty of not stopping crosses coming in. So perhaps advise for whoever lines up at left back would be to put him into the Brian Clough Stand as soon as possible. Aside from this I’ve gleaned very little except that – like us – they are very prone to defensive lapses.
As for us, the Jenas factor is an interesting one – to be here on a short term loan presumably means he’s here to play, so we should probably expect to see him in some shape or form come Sunday. When predicting our own line-up, approach, formation or anything is a difficulty then predicting the outcome of a match between that and another similarly unpredictable side seems futile.
Throw in the ‘local derby’ factor and well – I’ve no idea. We both have a propensity this season to ship goals, but oddly I’ve got a feeling this will be a low scoring affair. Certainly those players that remain from last season’s debacle a little over a year ago owe us a performance, and I’m sure Sean O’Driscoll will be at pains to underline to those that have arrived since how important this fixture is.
Luckily for me I’ve quite a busy schedule between now and then, hence the slightly-earlier-than-normal preview because I’m not sure I’ll find the time tomorrow, which means I won’t have too much time to ruminate and get nervous about the fixture. But the ol’ nerves are starting to tingle a little, there really is no other fixture like this as far as I’m concerned.
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