Derby head into today’s match against Sheffield Wednesday with two wins, a draw and a loss under Steve McClaren.
The loss came at QPR last weekend and to be fair to the team, they did battle for the points. Once again it was the defensive frailties that saw us conceded two goals.
The Rams currently have a lot of defenders on the injury list. Apart from long-term injured Shaun Barker, Mark O’Brien and Zak Whitbread are also missing.
It’s possible that both could be back after the international break.
Andre Wisdom has slotted well into the right back position, however, today could see him switched to the player in front of the defence as John Eustace serves a one match ban.
That will see Smith get another chance at right back.
Richard Keogh has failed to reproduce the form of last season in the middle and perhaps O’Brien and Whitbread returning to the squad will add some much needed competition in the position.
At left back we are very weak. Craig Forsyth has played there since opening day. With due respect to Forsyth, it’s not a position he has looked comfortable playing. He was signed as a left sided midfielder and the old saying of round pegs in square holes certainly applies in this case.
To be honest, it’s a position Derby have struggled to fill in recent years.
Being brought up watching John Robson, David Nish and Steve Buckley during my youth, makes it frustrating to say the very least. Arthur Cox had Michael Forsyth and Jim Smith had Chris Powell filling the role.
Why have we struggled so much to fill the position? The last player to do a job there in my opinion was Richard Jackson who was in fact a right back by rights.
Even during the last promotion season our protection down the left was suspect. Mo Camara was fine going forward, but was no Steve Buckley defending.
For me, if we tighten up at the back a top six place beckons. We don’t have any problems putting the ball into the net at the other end of the field, but sloppy defending is costing us big time!
So today a visit from Sheffield Wednesday awaits. The Owls have just recorded their first win of the campaign with a 5-2 thrashing of Reading. They’ve recently added Conor Wickham and Matty Fryatt to their attack and will be a threat going forward.
Pride Park will probably see it’s biggest crowd of the season. It’s reported that there could be as many as 4,000 visiting supporters. There’s always a good atmosphere in this fixture so let’s get behind the Rams and hopefully cheer them on to three points!