Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Saturday January 20 2007
Rams boss Billy Davies has a few selection headaches before Saturday`s game at Southend, but it`s a nice problem to have. The Squad has been strengthened by recent signings, but will the Gaffer bring in these players to the starting line-up on Saturday? All three showed what they can do in the 1-0 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday last week, Gary Teale did start and showed his worth on the flanks supplying some teasing crosses for Steve Howard and the Rams strikers. Both Stephen Pearson and Gary Fagan came off the bench and showed enough for the fans to be optimistic. Rams, East Stand Lower season ticket holder John Fellows was pleased with all three debutants. He said: "Teale did well and caused Wednesday all sorts of problems down the right.
I was very impressed with Pearson, he had good vision and was full of running, and Fagan showed glimpses of what he can do and he did win the free kick for the goal.
We really haven`t hit our straps yet, so to be winning games and sitting joint top of the table means we`re heading in the right direction."
The Rams travel today for the clash at Roots Hall against Southend, knowing a victory or a point will take them to the top of the Championship table, with Birmingham's game at Leicester City being postponed. Rams boss Billy Davies, has already stated that there is a long way to go in the season and his experience of the past two seasons with Preston, when he suffered play-off heartbreak, is still in the back of his mind. Promotion has never been won in January but at least Davies retained his sense of humour when the expected question was delivered at Friday`s press conference.
Davies was asked: 'Will your players be able to cope now they are joint top of the table?'
'No, I think we'll crumble,' he replied before his face broke into a wide smile. Davies was in quickly before the next 'promotion' question arrived.
'I've been here before with Preston in the last two seasons - there is no way we will get carried away, I won't allow it,' he said.
'There are 18 games to go and I know football can kick you up the backside. So we will look and learn from the Sheffield Wednesday game and prepare for another very difficult match at Southend.
We will try to finish as high as we can. I am very pleased for the fans but we will look no further than the next match.'
Davies also has decisions to make off the park with enquiries from other clubs regarding Rams players who are not getting first team football at present. Davies says Derby have started to receive calls for some of his players, but was quick to say the calls were not about Rams talented youngster Giles Barnes. He said: "The calls have not been for Barnes, let me make that clear,' said Davies.
'We are getting phones calls for some of our fringe players and some have a decision to make as regards to sitting here and fighting for a place or going elsewhere for regular first team football.'
Hull City are keen to talk to Adam Bolder and Seth Johnson and former Rams boss, and now Tigers boss, Phil Brown has been given permission by Derby to talk to the players. He said: 'Having had both Adam and Seth at Derby I know their strengths and they're both good players. I won't bring both in because there isn't room." This makes Bolder a more likely target for Hull, the club at which his career started.
Davies says there is still a 'big possibility' the Rams will add to the squad again in the transfer window. If this is the case players will have to be sold. If the Rams had a reserve team all the squad members would have a chance for match action, why we do not have a reserve side beats me. Davies has spoken about a practice match at Moor Farm next week to give some of the players not in the squad on Saturday a run out.
The Rams have also confirmed Morten Bisgaard will be offered a new deal to stay at Derby County beyond this season. Many thought his future lay elsewhere when Davies took over as manager in June but the 32-year-old Dane has responded and figured in all but four of the 28 Championship matches, making 16 League starts, and the Dane said recently he wanted to see out his career in English football with Derby County.
"I have told Morten we would like to discuss a new contract with him," said Davies.
"I'm very aware of his age and it will not be a long-term contract but there will be a contract offer.
"Morten has been excellent on the training ground since I have come in, like the rest of the lads. He is a young 32-year-old and is in excellent condition.
"He is a player who can play in a number of positions. He can play wide but I don't think that's his best position and I have now brought wide players in.
"Morten can play in central midfield or off the front man. He has come in and played with great energy and is a joy to work with, like the other lads."
The four-day trial of Craig Bryson came to an end on Friday and he has returned to his club Clyde. The 20- year-old impressed at Moor Farm and Davies has said he will speak to his club about his future. He said: 'Craig handled himself very well and is a young lad with plenty of potential. He has shown great energy and is a good attacking midfielder. He is certainly not ready for us yet but may be one for the future.
We are looking at the options and might discuss the possibility of taking him and then may be loaning him back out. We will have a chat with his club and see what they are thinking and let them know what we are thinking.'
Meanwhile Derby`s young centre forward Lionel Ainsworth could join Conference club Halifax on a month's loan, to get some first team experience. The 19-year-old recently returned from a loan spell at Bournemouth.
Date:Saturday January 20 2007
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