|Reading v Derby County|
Friday, 3rd August 2018 Kick-off 20:00
G.M's Match Preview: Not Hopeful Rams Can Provide Positive Answers At Albion
Friday, 10th Mar 2017 06:36 by George Martin
In the 94th minute on Tuesday, many fans realised why this current squad of players will not get promoted, whoever is managing them.
Yes, if fans want to clutch at straws and 'blame' something or someone for the last gasp 1-1 draw against Preston, substitutions could be questioned but the lack of finishing to get the second goal to seal the game was also frustrating when on top after the first goal.
However, there is enough experience on the pitch, from the goalkeeper to the centre forward to see out a game and secure all three points. The only possible doubt was the choice to bring on Camara instead of Anya. De Sart could have also been brought on instead of Bryson as he has more height and Preston were generally just pumping the ball forward.
It was yet another game this season (including the past two) in which seemingly safe points have been dropped. Until a number of high earning and fringe players are moved on, and younger, hungrier players, with a different mentality are brought in, Derby will not get promoted.
The extra goals and assists if Martin comes back next season, could see a push towards the top six, but The Rams should not be relying on just one player, one formation and one style of playing. To be fair to McClaren, he has tried different players and tinkered with formations and personnel to try and find the right formula to get a victory. That worked on Saturday against Barnsley and nearly worked on Tuesday night.
Derby travel to Brighton and play in front of the Sky cameras in what could be a daunting away fixture. Keogh is struggling to be fit with a calf strain but might be risked. Personally, I don't think it's worth it. Man City have done similar with Kompany and when was the last time he played a number of consecutive games.
If Keogh is risked, Baird could revert to right back as a more safe option. Johnson is struggling with a very heavy bang on the shin and might not make it. Hughes and Anya might be used to freshen things up and also add some energy to the midfield.
After a late defeat to Newcastle and surprise 3-0 away defeat to Notts Forest, Brighton got back to normal proceedings with an away victory at Rotherham. The defeat to Newcastle was the first time in 51 matches where they have lost having taken the lead.
After losing to Sheffield Wednesday in last season's play off semi final, Brighton have consolidated their position and look to go one further by finishing in the top two. They are very consistent and deserve it. A well run club with a solid and organised manager.
Brighton have one or two defensive problems with Duffy out injured. Goalkeeper Stockdale, alongside Dunk and Bruno will aim to keep Derby at bay. Knockaert will look to pull the strings in midfield and The Seagulls have options up front in Baldock and Murray who can both create and score goals.
After a heartbreaking and confidence sapping draw at home to Preston on Tuesday, Derby will be doing very well to get anything away to Brighton, who are vying for automatic promotion.
At times Derby have shown they can compete, but generally The Rams have struggled away to teams in the top six. Consistency and the right mentality will always be a question hanging over a number players, that I'm not convinced they can answer positively.
Until these two formulas improve Derby will remain in the Championship.
Derby to lose 3-1, with Nugent (maybe) to score.
Not hopeful at all.
Last Time They Met:
Derby 0 v 0 Brighton
Pride Park – 6th August 2016
Classic Clash Video:
Brighton 2 v 3 Derby
Withdean Stadium - 5th February 2005
Gaffer / Player Pre Match Interview:
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