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Is the squad strong enough???

Given Derby’s below average performance in the Championship so far this season I thought it time to properly assess Nigel Clough’s squad to see where the weaknesses lie. In a series of articles I’ll be looking at the defence, midfield, strikeforce and coaching staff but the first area I’ll concentrate on is the goalkeeping department.

The Rams only have two goalkeepers to rely on at present, Stephen Bywater and Saul Deeney.

Bywater is number one and rightly so, he is the best and most experienced goalkeeper at the club by a mile. Bywater established himself as number 1 again last season and hasn’t looked back; he consistently shows that he is a good shot stopper, commands his area and is confident at claiming crosses. He does however have moments of madness; his distribution can be poor, relying on a long kick forward rather than a simple roll out and putting his colleagues in dangerous positions. Since the promotion season of 2007 Bywater has been a fans favourite and a reliable member of the team.

Saul Deeney is something of an unknown, he hasn’t started a game for the Rams since his free transfer from Burton Albion in the summer. Given this fact it is hard to form a strong opinion about him, but looking at the statistics he appears to be nothing more than a backup. The fact that he hasn’t played at this level before does not mean he would not be good enough if called upon.

Derby appear to be short on a quality back up keeper for Bywater but it would be hard to criticise Deeney when he hasn’t appeared for the first team yet. For now this area shouldn’t be a concern, Bywater hasn’t suffered with injuries during his time at Pride Park so hopefully the apparent lack of quality behind will not be such an issue.

My first choice goalkeeper would be the same as Nigel Clough’s – it’s Stephen Bywater


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