In the second of this week’s articles about the Derby squad I will be looking at the defensive options available to Nigel Clough and seeing if this should be an area of concern.
Paul Connolly is a solid defender but in truth he is nothing special, he struggles for pace and his distribution can be poor. When panicked Connolly tends to go very direct with his passing which leads to possession being lost, however he is the best right full back Derby own.
Fredrik Stoor is currently on loan from Fulham, he has just extended his loan for another two months which is good news. The Swedish international has impressed in the 4 games he has played, he is very calm on the ball and strong in the challenge and now his loan spell has been extended he should make the right back spot his own.
Dean Moxey has been one of the few shining stars of the season so far. Signed from Exeter City for £250k in the summer Moxey has settled in very well and looks very accomplished at left back. It has been encouraging that the step up divisions hasn’t been too difficult for him and with a strong winger in front of him he has the potential to be a great player for Derby in the coming years. Moxey is definitely the best left back we have had since Chris Powell.
Jay McEveley is one of those left back who is better going forward than defending but over the past few years he has become a versatile member of the squad. He has struggled to hold onto his place in the past, he went out on loan to Preston last season, and unfortunately for McEveley I think he is unlikely to dispose Moxey from the left back slot this season. In recent games McEveley has come back into the side due to injuries and he has covered well, especially playing at centre half against Sheffield Wednesday. After scoring in that game his confidence appeared to coming back but a fractured cheekbone against Middlesbrough will set him back again.
Shaun Barker was Derby’s biggest summer signing at £1 million from Blackpool. Despite his price tag he didn’t get into the starting XI straight away, mainly due to injury, but since injuries gave him a chance he has he has shown what a solid defender he is at this level. He looks good in the air and he reads the game well, the only question mark would be around his pace.
Jake Buxton was Nigel Clough’s first summer signing, coming in from Burton Albion on a free transfer Buxton. In the games he has played Buxton has done well, he has stepped up to Championship standard and while he’ll never be the best defender at the club he is a good honest professional who will give 100% every time he is called upon.
Dean Leacock is a very cool, calm and solid centre half who (when fit) is very good at his job. Sadly for Deano his recent injury record is poor, he has suffered from major injuries and sadly hasn’t fully recovered his full fitness yet. Leacock has been playing in recent weeks and has shown that he has still got all the attributes to be a good defender and once he is fully fit he will be pushing for a starting spot every week.
Miles Addison is Derby’s bright young hope. He is tall, strong, quick, solid in the tackle and good on the ball. Addison appears to have everything needed to be a solid centre half, the only thing that goes against him is that he is equally as good in midfield which causes dilemmas when other defenders are fit. I believe centre half is his best position and when fully fit he would be my first choice centre back.
So is the defence strong enough? When all the players are fully fit it should be, but what is causing Derby problems at the moment is that the centre backs are not fit.
Ideal starting back four – Stoor, Leacock, Addison, Moxey
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