Derby Down Under - Reactionary
Friday, 12th Oct 2007 18:51 by Daniel J Sewart
The extra awareness of Derby County in Australia this season has been a double edged sword that is fast becoming a very sharp single edge.
Whether it is a fellow football fan or someone who wouldn’t know their Arsenal from their elbow, to most Derby are already relegated. On results so far it’s hard at this point to argue a case for the defence (and I know I have tried) but as many clubs before, the Rams have turned bad starts into powerhouse finishes, all is not lost.
I am sure I am not alone in thinking that the break in fixtures is far from another chance to catch our breath but instead an unwelcome interruption when the team would be better served with a chance to put another disappointing performance behind them.
When they get that chance perhaps Derby needs to live a bit more dangerously. Having conceded more goals than any other team in the league some may find the idea laughable but I think attacking from the first whistle is imperative in the struggle for survival.
Last week I called for a positive ‘put them on the back foot’ mentality against a Reading squad who was reeling from their embarrassing display against Portsmouth. The first half unfolded in such a lacklustre fashion that surely it could not have done any harm to try and twist the screws as when Reading went one up Derby became a force hell bent on levelling the score. They looked capable of scoring and were finding chinks in the Royals armour. Sadly the Rams executed the final stage of each attack with the confidence of a team who were under immense pressure; hence the forward forays came to nothing.
Teams that play reactionary football has never been something I have liked to watch and Davies managed the game in such a fashion. A solid workmanlike team took the field for a messy arm wrestle that shifted when Reading got the upper hand and the artillery cupboard was opened with the hope a bit of width and flair could rescue the situation. In Physics ‘every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction’, the Rams must change that to ‘action rather than reaction to an opposite action’.
If Derby is to go down, they should go down fighting each and every step of the way. Selecting attacking teams that will run at defences, put crosses in at the first opportunity and no matter who the opposition, treat each game as a winnable one rather than hoping to defend for their lives and rescue a point.
Never will I criticise Billy for what he is attempting to do as his job is one of the hardest in football. Establishing a team in the Premier League is like trying to establish an ice block factory in Antarctica and the uphill battle is just the type of challenge Mr Davies seems to revel in. His decision to play Feilhaber is proof that he is looking to get the mix right and I am sure with a fit Barnes and Fagan available again we can expect to see a more attacking squad on the park sooner than later.
No fan will ever criticise their team if they believe they are throwing everything at their opposition and I don’t believe the Rams squad have yet to achieve that belief amongst their supporters. The sooner they shake the rabbit startled in the headlights style of play they adopt when under pressure, the sooner they will see determination and a willingness to take the game up to their opposition works much better.
I still believe that this season has many more positives in store for Derby County fans and that a gritty resolve to prove every pundit and doubter wrong is rising to the surface. There are so many pages left in this story that even trying to guess the ending at this stage would be fraught with danger. There is always a surprise twist before the final page and I for one will give it till the very last paragraph before I give up hope.
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