Interview With A Ram
1) With just one win so far this season and sitting not so prettily at the bottom of the table, can you see any glimmer of hope for survival this season?
Well mate the old cliché is ‘We’ll take one week at a time’, but really we have struggled and the club will have to turn it around sooner rather than later. I’ve said before we've started a little tentative and have paid the ultimate penalty. We were given a football lesson at Anfield, Arsenal and Tottenham, the later being their only victory of the season!!!!! We have probably been a little naive but our last two away game have been OK, so I hope we can put in a good performance on your patch.
2) Billy Davies has just been given the dreaded vote of confidence, is he the right man for the job, are the board right to stick with him?
Billy Davies is a great manager, and I’ve the upmost respect for him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives everything to the cause. Is this enough in the Premier League, well that is to be decided this season. The club did start behind the eight ball (this isn’t an excuse but I’ll take it!!!) due to the late end to last season with the play-off victory. There was talk of Billy walking before the season began but that has been resolved, I believe a few players in the January transfer window will see him turn the Rams fortunes around – (Here’s hoping!!!!!!)
3) What is a realistic expectation for Derby County league wise?
I said all long we would struggle in the Premier League, but I did think Billy might have brought a few more new faces into the camp. But saying that I heard Iain Dowie say when he won promotion with Crystal Palace he didn’t have the faith in his squad and he brought to many players in and they struggled to gel. It’s a hard one but one thing in the Rams favour is the gap at the bottom isn’t that great so if we win a few games, hopefully starting on Saturday (wink, wink!!!) we will move away from the foot of the table, and begin to play with a little more confidence.
4) Who of our players would you like to take to Pride Park and who would you send in their place?
The big fellow up front (John Carew) looks quality and he has formed a good partnership with Gabriel Agbonlahor so they would look nice in a white Rams shirt. Gareth Barry also has impressed this season for you and England, his partnership with Nigel Reo-Coker would be nice at Pride Park. In return Giles Barnes is a quality youngster, who will only get better playing in the Premier League. Tyrone Mears has proved this season he is a quality defender also Stephen Pearson has impressed in midfield, but I can’t see them in a claret and blue shirt somehow!!!!!!!
5) What do you think of Villa and our manager Martin O'Neill.
In my opinion Villa has been a sleeping giant in English football for a number of years. After the Glory day’s in the early 80’s they have struggled to get the right man in as coach. I think you have had 11 coaches in that time span, but I believe Mr. Ellis had something to do with that!!!!! Martin O’Neil is a tremendous manager, and probably your gain was England’s loss, as he would have made a great national coach. You look at the Villa side and you haven’t the super star individuals, but you have good team who all work together, and O’Neil has moulded the side into a great unit. You seem to struggle away from home (Do you want to swap this week’s match to our place, go on!!!!!) but a place in the top half of the league is a must and if you can turn your away from around a place in Europe is there for the taking.
6) Martin O'Neill has said that Derby won't be a pushover for Villa this weekend, do you see any reason for us to fear the Rams?
They say you’re only as good as your last game, and we drew 0-0 at Fulham and really should have won it. The return of Giles Barnes is a great boost for us, and Kenny Miller is also fitting in nicely. We’ve struggled in defence this season, (as the goals against column shows on the table) especially at centre back so the return of Darren Moore gives us a little more stability in that department. His ball distribution isn’t the best but he organises well and he and Claude Davis will have to be on their toes on Saturday. We lack a midfielder with vision, someone who can put the final ball in to the right areas. Matt Oakley and Steven Pearson have played well this season but I believe were still lacking in that position.
7) What is your prediction for this weekends game?
Well mate the Rams will be looking for their first win at Villa Park since November 1988 when Dean Saunders and Paul Goddard netted in a 2-1 success for Arthur Cox's side. We have lost the last six visits to your place and we will need to show a little more than we dished out last weekend against Everton at Pride Park. They say football is a funny old game and if the Rams play to their potential then a victory is on. We need to be organized and work hard, but you might be looking ahead to the local derby against Birmingham City next week and we might nick it, but I’ll say a 1-1 draw.
With thanks to Peter Simcox from Vital Derby