Jamie Ward is the Rams’ top goalscorer so far this season with 10 goals in 17 appearances, averaging around 0.59 goals per game. “You’re my Jamie Ward…” sings the Derby faithful towards one of their favourites.
Derby have played a total of 36 games so far this campaign, meaning Ward has played just under half of those games. A gruelling hamstring injury, suffered in September’s East Midlands derby, halted his season. Had it not been for that injury the Rams could be in a slightly different league position, the former Sheffield United striker’s impact and goals are that important – 5 goals in his last 6 league starts is a good record.
Not only is he a good goalscorer he also has one of the best assist records within the club, 7 assists- the third highest. That proving he is a fantastic player for Nigel Clough, a key player that’s been essential despite having missed a huge chunk of the season.
The club have an outside chance of reaching the Championship play-offs this season however any push to reach the top 6 must be of an even slimmer chance when you look at the club’s upcoming fixtures; a trip to 3rd placed Watford is next, then a home fixture against 4th placed Crystal Palace and afterwards a trip to the league leaders Cardiff. If the Rams are to have any chance of picking up some points in the coming games then talisman Ward will need to be on form and convert his chances, as the whole team should!
It is probably fair to say he’s Derby’s best goalscorer since Kris Commons’ goalscoring spree before a move to Celtic in the 2010/11 season and the days of Rob Hulse. In-between then and now Theo Robinson and Steve Davies (last season) have been the main goalscorers for Derby, although, in my view, not quite the same as the game that Ward possess, which we have lacked prior to him.
Ward is quite easily the club’s best player in front of goal. On numerous occasions we have seen too many chances squandered in front of goal, particularly away from home, costing points – the ex-Chesterfield man can hopefully solve that with the team and continue his form.
I am, in this, talking about him mostly as a striker. It does seem to be the area where he can have more of an impact on the team, linking up well with Conor Sammon. Manager Nigel Clough has other options out wide so will hopefully look to keep Ward up front, where he is scoring.
The Northern Ireland international has been on top form, of course with the help of team mates - such as Conor Sammon, and long may it continue. I said in a recent post that I think there are good signs for a more ambitious season next campaign, the team have had some good spells – involving Ward. Just how dangerous can an injury free Jamie Ward be in a full season? Next season he will hopefully be pivotal in a push towards the top 6.