|Derby County v Cardiff City|
Saturday, 18th March 2017 Kick-off 15:00
G.M's Match Preview: Rams Must Put Pride Back In The Black & The White
Saturday, 18th Mar 2017 07:24 by Geroge Martin
Two weeks ago this game seemed like a 'normal' run of the mill local derby with two teams not really playing for too much with only local pride at stake.
Since then, both teams have changed their manager and Notts Forest are in a relegation battle after a poor set of results with other teams around them winning or gaining vital points here and there.
The Derby players have now had Clement, Wassall (if we really county him), Pearson and McClaren, try to get them in the top six. All have lost their jobs, but the common denominators are the players.
When things are going their way, they're a match for anyone. When they're struggling for form, need to fight or the chips are down; unfortunately they either lack the ability, mental strength or attitude to succeed.
There HAS to be a change of player personnel in the summer. Bent, Blackman, Shackell, Butterfield, Russell, Weimann and Camara need to be moved on. A number of them are high earners and are consistently not delivering week in week out.
Yes, Bent scores goals, but he literally offers nothing else and cannot play up front on his own. He does not hold the ball up, win free kicks, bring others into play or assist with others scoring. Basically, he's no Chris Martin.
We have barely seen then best of Bryson for the past two seasons and although he scores goals, the club should listen to offers for Ince if around the £10m figure.
Gary Rowett, the new Derby County Manager, has been impressive in his first few days in charge, but it's what happens on the pitch that really counts. Many ex players and pundits have reaped a lot of positive comments Rowett's way. It does seem as though he is flexible and adaptable in his approach.
Rowett will gladly welcome back Captain Richard Keogh at the centre of defence to partner Pearce and with Christie struggling with a foot injury, Baird will revert to the right full back position.
If Rowett decides to play three in midfield, Johnson, Hughes and Bryon will provide the necessary bite, quality and energy in midfield. Ince will start on the right and it's anyone's guess who will start on the left, with Russell, Anya and Vydra all vying for this position. Anya is the preferred option with pace, trickery and ability to get back and defend.
Nugent is likely to lead the line. If Rowett only plays two central midfielders in a 4-2-3-1, Vydra may play in his preferred position as a number 10, just off the main striker. I would go for option one from the start and option two if we need a goal.
Notts Forest also welcome a new manager in Mark Warburton. They seemed to have rushed the appointment through quickly after two or three bad results have left them hovering nervously above the relegation zone. Warburton brings a calmness and level headedness which the club needs, with their erratic owner Fawaz in charge.
Going forward, if selected, Assombalonga, Osborn and young prospect Brereton pose a threat with power, trickery and pace while Ex Ram Jamie Ward is unavailable due to suspension. Ross McCormack will be looking to reignite his career after a poor spell and falling out at Aston Villa. Vaughn will bring stability to central midfield, but Florist do have problems in defence with a few recognised defenders out of action.
Warburton's sides are generally well organised, try and play good football and have good energy about them.
Fans and the media, locally and nationally will be watching with interest how both new management teams start their tenures. I bet Sky Sports now wish they had selected the game for television, with all the coverage there has been in the past week.
It is likely to be a fiery start with Notts Forest needing a win having lost five of their last seven games. Derby will need bite, but cool heads, quality, but also know when to play the simple ball. The Rams have the necessary ability and skill level, but need to apply it.
Derby need to really test a wobbly Notts Forest back four, but not panic themselves at the back. After last week's embarrassing debacle against Brighton, the players owe it to themselves, the fans and the club to produce a quality, strong willed performance.
A tough game to call, so will go with a safe 1-1 draw and Ince to score, but if The Rams can turn it on, it could be a very good victory for the men and fans in black and white!
Last Time They Met:
Derby 3 v 0 Forest
Pride Park Stadium – 11th Dec 2016
Classic Clash Video:
Forest 1 v 2 Derby
City Ground - 17th Sept 2011
Gaffer / Player Pre-Match Interviews:
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Photo: Action Images
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