The strikeforce, the players who win you games – are they good enough to keep Derby in this divison and push on in the future?
Rob Hulse, Derby current player of the year, is by far and away the best striker at the club. He is big and strong, has good control, is good in the air and is prolific in front of goal when given the chances. Hulse doesn’t really have many weaknesses, what makes his game harder is the lack of support and poor delivery he gets from midfield.
Kris Commons is a very skilful and creative forward and was Derby’s matchwinner on many occasions last season. This season he has struggled with injury which has limited him to only 3 appearances. When Commons arrived at Derby he was considered to be a winger but Clough has transformed him into a second striker which he has revelled in. Playing as a support for Hulse he is able to link play between midfield and bring other attacking options into play. Commons’ downside is his mentality; sometimes he doesn’t look interested and has a high opinion of himself which leads to him trying silly tricks in the wrong parts of the pitch which can cause Derby trouble. When fully fit Commons is a definite starter, a player of his calibre has to be.
Paul Dickov is someone people weren’t expecting much too from, he isn’t a prolific goalscorer, he isn’t particularly quick and he isn’t naturally skilful. However in the last couple of matches he has shown what he does have – bags of energy, the ability to link up well with Hulse, and good vision to bring others into the game. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea but Dickov has shown that he does have a role to play and I wouldn’t surprised to see him stay at the club for the rest of the season. And given Derby’s lack of experience upfront he could become invaluable part of the squad.
Chris Porter’s Derby career shows that he has a great goalscoring record, however he has played so little for the club that not many people have actually witnessed him in a white shirt. He made 4 appearances last season before picking up a hip injury, which has kept him out for 18 months. As a result its hard to comment too much on him as he’s not played enough, in the four games he did play he scored 3 goals and looked very promising. So here’s hoping when he is fit he provides a good alternative to Hulse.
James Vaughan has been on loan from Everton but only managed 2 games before falling foul of the injury curse. He picked up a knee injury which has seen him return to Everton to recover, however he will be back in January to give Derby another option upfront, and providing he recovers from his injury Vaughan will provide good pace and an eye for goal.
The best front two – Commons and Hulse
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