During Nigel Clough’s tenure at Pride Park criticism was made on the matter of the team’s seeming lack of offensiveness. Now, attacking-wise the Rams are a force.
Chris Martin, Jamie Ward and Simon Dawkins have been combining well in a forward line tailored to oppress the opponents. Collectively they have been key in the recent form. Ward has been especially impressive in comparison to his lackluster early campaign form.
What’s even more striking is the positivity during matches under the new regime. The substitutions are more attack-minded, instead of being content with a draw. The 3-2 win at Watford is a prime example of that.
In the narrow yet efficient 1-0 victory in Bournemouth on Saturday, four of the seven substitutes were strikers. That is a certain statement of intent.
This more vigorous approach is quite refreshing.
Additionally the loan signings and one short-term contract by the new staff illustrates their early impact.
Zak Whitbread was first through the doors, joining at a time just shy of the McClaren era. Although he is injured, he was a welcome figure into the back four. Next came Andre Wisdom and Simon Dawkins. Not a sweetener in a deal for starlet Will Hughes the club say, the England Under-21 defender has tightened things up at the back. Meanwhile Spurs attacker Dawkins has excelled in the other half of the pitch.
As well as those loan signings, Kalifia Cisse has joined and, as I mentioned last week, proved to be a class act in his opening Rams outing.
At the time of writing, the Rams are reportedly on the verge of pocketing. Michael Keane on loan from Manchester United. That is another fantastic coup for the surging side.
Derby are currently sitting just outside the play-offs in seventh place, just a point adrift of the top six. I know it’s still early but I do believe that there is every reason to be aroused.
The matches are coming thick and fast. Wigan Athletic on Sunday present an interesting challenge; the Latics have plenty of players that have appeared in the Premier League. Their campaign is yet to be fully set alight as they lie in 11th place.
Following that, two back-to-back home matches are on the agenda. Middlesbrough visit next Wednesday and Blackpool visit in a lunch-time TV encounter next Saturday.
It is by no means unreasonable to think that Derby will be in the play-offs very soon and maybe even by the end of the camping.
Up the Rams!