Derby County legend Alan Hinton believes the Rams will be a ‘decent’ side when they have two fit strikers at their disposal, taking to Twitter to deliver his verdict on his former side.
The Championship side endured a bumpy time at Pride Park in the summer, operating under a strict EFL-imposed transfer embargo for breaking several of the governing body’s rules and looking as though they wouldn’t even be able to field a senior side on the opening day of the Championship season at one point.
Notable players including Jordon Ibe, Martyn Waghorn, Scott Malone, Jack Marriott, Florian Jozefzoon and Scott Carson all left the club this summer, making Derby’s squad threadbare with the East Midlands outfit previously unable to recruit players.
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Thankfully for Wayne Rooney’s side, they have managed to tie down Curtis Davies to a new deal and sign Ravel Morrison, Ryan Allsop, Richard Stearman, Sam Baldock and Phil Jagielka in the summer in their quest to stay afloat in the Championship.
But with mid-to-long term injuries to Krystian Bielik, Jason Knight and Colin-Kazim Richards, gaps in Derby’s squad are continuing to show and they will be desperate to avoid further injuries and bring their absent players back into the fold as soon as possible.
Former winger Alan Hinton, who played for the club between 1967 and 1975, has delivered a reasonably upbeat verdict on Wayne Rooney’s side though, saying on Twitter: “I phoned a couple of my longtime Derby County friends today.
“I got the feeling the club is going in [the] right direction with some experience at the back and some good youngsters coming through. When two strikers are fit Derby will be a decent team.”
Although Sam Baldock’s arrival was a major boost for manager Rooney after training with the club in pre-season, Colin Kazim-Richards faces an extended spell on the sidelines with the ruptured Achilles he sustained at Peterborough United last month.
With this, 19-year-old Jack Stretton, who scored at London Road after coming on as a substitute, looks set to continue being in the first-team squad for the foreseeable future.
Hinton makes a great point about some of the younger players coming through – and you’re not just talking about the likes of Stretton who have only just come through the ranks at Pride Park.
When Jason Knight returns to the fold, he may line up alongside Max Bird at the heart of midfield and provide a youthful look to their side’s middle of the park.
Both are just 20 but already have a good amount of second-tier experience between them, with the promising Lee Buchanan continuing to impress at left-back and 19-year-old Louie Sibley becoming a regular part of the first team.
So if they can weather this storm, stay afloat in the Championship for the next couple of seasons in difficult circumstances and manage to retain some of their best youngsters, the future could look a lot brighter for the Rams.
This is a big if though – and their main focus right now will be on the short term after making a reasonably decent start to the campaign under a young manager in Rooney.