Vital Reading season preview
Club: Derby County
Nickname: The Rams
Ground: Pride Park (Capacity: 33,597)
When we face off: Sat 18th October (H), Sat 2nd May (A)
Last season finish: 3rd – Championship
Manager: Steve McClaren – Unfortauntely, the majority of football fans will remember him for his wretched time as England boss, and forget his success as boss of Boro and FC Twente. Since taking over at Derby in September, he transformed them into genuine promotion candidates, using their perfect blend of youth and experience to form a side that are very easy on the eye and good to watch. I think his work with Derby has not really been publicised as much as it should have.
Key player: Craig Bryson – Despite interest from Burnley over the summer, Derby have kept their key man in tact for the coming season and will benefit hugely for doing so, getting him down on an extended deal. 16 goals in a season in any division is fantastic for a midfield, let alone in a competitive division like the Championship – he will be pivotal to any promotion hopes Derby have this season.
Season Preview: Missing out on promotion play-off final isn’t easy, especially when Bobby Zamora scores the winner! However, we proved that even if you miss out on that big day at Wembley, you can still mount a very good promotion push the following season (and get promoted). Having George Thorne ruled out for the majority of the season is a massive blow, but Derby still have a squad capable of making the top six, possibly even the top two.