Following the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, manager Nigel Clough placed seven players on the transfer list. Those seven were Theo Robinson, Nathan Tyson, Frank Fielding, Adam Legzdins, James O’Connor, Tom Naylor and James Bailey.
Over three months on, just one of the seven has moved on permanently. Frank Fielding dropped down a league to join League One side Bristol City. He has started the season between the sticks for the Robins and conceded five goals at Sixfields to Coventry last week. Yes, five goals (make of it what you will). Another of the group, Tom Naylor has moved on but only on loan – the defender is at Newport County on loan until January.
I do wonder how much of the wage bill these players are taking up. Nathan Tyson is thought to be a big earner. What does seem clear is that they’re taking much longer to ship out than anticipated. What makes it tougher is that they aren’t playing football and haven’t played much first-team football in a while, this makes it tougher for other clubs to watch.
I watched the friendly played by a Derby XI at Matlock a couple of weeks ago, the team included all seven of these players listed.
Theo’s touch was, as ever, not the best but he did come up with a goal in typical Theo fashion. Him and Tyson are the two strikers available for transfer. Chris Martin is considered as the main man in attack, with Russell slotting alongside him, Sammon currently occupying a position on the bench and Bennett on the fringes it’s clear they’re far behind in the pecking order, would have a tough ask working their way into the team and are, basically, surplus to requirements. Unsuccessful loan spells at the back end of last season didn’t prompt the clubs to pursue the strikers for keeps.
‘Keeper Legzdins played over 30 matches last season but has found himself out of the picture with Lee Grant being brought in. The ex-Burnley stopper is firmly the number one and is proving to be an amazing coup on a free transfer. Adam Legzdins seems to be used as the number two, ahead of Saul Deeney, until he finds a new club. I think he’s good to have as second choice but he won’t settle for that, understandably.
O’Connor is naturally a right-back. Kieron Freeman and Adam Smith are battling it out for that slot. With Nigel Clough bringing in Smith on loan it’s even clearer that he isn’t prepared to use the former Doncaster man, who can also operate at the heart of defence. Last season he provided cover for the whole of the back four, never looking particularly convincing in any role.
We haven’t seen Naylor play a competitive match since his and Derby’s utter nightmare in the League Cup at Pride Park (I’ll say nothing further on that!). Following the step-up from non-league he impressed but there are better options ahead of him. If his loan deal works out in League Two then he could be off there permanently, who knows?
Bailey is a player who was excellent during in his first season, alongside the experience of Robbie Savage. Due to that it is a little disappointing to see him frozen out but ultimately he won’t get a chance with Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick continuing their development in the first-team.
So, any takers?