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The Scout Report: Derby County


Newcastle seem to have found their rhythm, racking up an impressive three league wins in succession, including a 2-0 victory over title rivals Brighton. Saturday poses another challenge from yet another title contender, Derby County, led by former United coach, the ruthless Nigel Pearson.
 
Derby County – A Factfile
Founded: 1884
Nickname: The Rams
Stadium: Pride Park (33,678 capacity)
Manager: Nigel Pearson
2015-16: Championship, 5th
Major Honours: First Division (1971-72, 1974-75) – FA Cup (1946)

2016-17 Scout Report

 
Notable Signings

– Matej Vydra – ST – In Derby’s search for goals they have recruited Czech international forward Matej Vydra, best known for his rampant 2014-15 Championship campaign with Watford where his 16 league goals helped fire the Hornets to promotion. However, whilst on loan at Reading last season, he only struck three times in 31 league appearances.

– Ikechi Anya – RW – Scottish international Anya is another new signing made by Pearson. A pacey winger but can also operate at full-back, the former Watford man is a versatile player has a lot to offer and like Vydra, also played a part in helping to achieve promotion with Watford in 2015.

Notable Departures

– Chris Martin – ST –  Having scored 52 league goals in just over 100 league appearances for the Rams, it came as a surprise that Pearson would allow the Scot to leave Pride Park on loan to Fulham, who could prove to be a potential title rival.

– Jeff Hendrick – CM – Irish international who featured at this summer’s European Championships, Hendrick sealed a late move to Premier League Burnley at the end of August for an undisclosed fee. His guile and playmaking abilities in midfield will be sorely missed by Pearson’s Derby who did not have ample time to find a suitable replacement in the transfer window.

Key Players

– Tom Ince – RW – Having promised so much in younger years and once being offered the chance to play for Italian giants Inter Milan, it may come as a surprise that Ince still finds himself plying his trade in the second tier of English football. However, over the past couple of seasons he has found career stability in a consistent starting role at Derby. This stability is likely to continue with Ince spearheading attacks from the flanks under Pearson.

– Will Hughes – CM – Fan favourite and a product of Derby’s youth academy, Hughes is an influential part of Derby’s midfield. Not considered as much of a goalscorer but one of the Championship’s most creative influences over the past few seasons and a mainstay of the past few England U21 squads. At only 21 years of age, Hughes has already seen action in a Rams shirt 138 times, even despite missing last season with torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

 

– Richard Keogh – CB – A stalwart of the Derby defence and has been in the fold for each of Derby past three promotion pushes. His international experience is vital and could be important in instilling the right mentality into some of the younger members of the squad. A tough-tackler and difficult for opposition strikers, however he is prone to the occasional defensive error, which United will look to exploit.

Manager – Nigel Pearson

Pearson is a man who needs no introduction to football fans right across the country as his high profile departure from Leicester City prior to their Premier League success, made headline news.
From a football perspective however, Pearson has achieved previous success in leading Leicester into Championship and then into the Premier League before the core of his side romped to the PL title after he remarkably steered the ship away from relegation in the 2014-15 campaign. Pearson is a former centre-half and will no doubt adopt a no nonsense approach.
Following the £12.5m signing of Vydra this summer and a £25m outlay on purchased players under previous management last season, Pearson will have to try to motivate a strong squad at his disposal, or face mounting pressure from the Derby County board.
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