Date:Monday August 13 2007
Another Saturday and another win for the Mighty. OK, so we rose our luck at times, but let's be honest; it was a great display from the lads and we were good value for the win in my opinion. Yes, Leicester had chances and Rabs made several superb saves, but we dominated the first 25 minutes and then successfully absorbed the Leicester pressure, whilst not being afraid to commit men forward when the opportunity arose. If we can maintain this sort of performance away from home throughout the season whilst ensuring that we pick up as many points as possible at home, then we stand a great chance of staying up.
I think we played Leicester at the right time; with so many new faces, they were always going to take time to gel. As a result, their build up play was very disjointed and they often resorted lumping the ball forward to the thug that is De Vries (even when holding players' shirts, he still struggled to win headers!), unlike the Pool who looked to get the ball down and knock it around. My only concern was that for all our attacking moves, we didn't really create any clear cut chances and the final ball was lacking at times. On other day, we might have been punished. Hopefully such chances and passes will come in abundance once the players settle back down into their rhythms.
As for individual performances, Rabs had a great game in goal bar a couple of flaps. He's going to be a big player for us this season and we need him to perform as he did on Saturday on a regular basis. Jacko and Evatt had steady games at centre back, bar a couple of nervy moments, whilst Barker, as always, looked very composed at right back. Crainey had a great debut at left back; he faced the prospect of a difficult afternoon with Wes coming in at the 11th hour to play in front of him, but he was rock solid in defence and when he did get forward, he put in a couple of really good crosses.
In midfield, Southern was immense; winning ball after ball in the middle of the park and capping his afternoon with the winner. Fox had a quiet game next to him; he still seems to struggle with the physical side of the game, but deserved his place in the starting XI and will hopefully grow more assured in there as the season progresses. Wes was Wes; superb and my man of the match. Everytime he got the ball he caused Leicester problems. Meanwhile, on the right, Taylor-Fletcher had a great debut. Although lacking in pace, he has enough strength to hold off the opposition, whilst having the skill to get past them. He's certainly come on a lot from his Lincoln days if Saturday is anything to go by, and he looks like he might prove to be a good signing.
I thought Parker had a quiet game upfront, but that was largely because the superb Bruno N'Gotty marked him out of the game. On the other hand, Morrell played well in my opinion; he won several headers and his link up play was superb.
Saturday gave us a lot of positives, but at the same time a lot of things to work on. There will be times this season when we struggle, but with momentum and confidence oozing from the side at the moment, let's hope it's a while yet before we start wondering where our next win comes from!
As long as the players continue to battle like they did on Saturday on a regular basis, picking up points along the way, I'm sure that very few of us will have many complaints. Saturday showed that we can compete at this level, but with 45 games still to go, a long, hard season awaits.
Date:Monday August 13 2007
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Derby v Blackpool - Team Line-Ups (Tuesday April 14 2015)
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