Date:Saturday September 27 2008
Nacer Barazite is on loan to Derby County from Premier League Arsenal, we speak to a Derby fan who believes he could be the difference today.
Mike from Vital Derby runs the rule over Rangers chances against the Rams amongst other things.
1. Both clubs understand the feeling of what it's like to be crippled by the ABC Corporation - What were the differences before and after the loan was paid off?
The public face of the corporation, aptly named 'The Three Amigo's', talked a good game about reducing debt having bought the club for Ł3 but no-one has fond memories of their tenure at Pride Park. The arrests and subsequent court cases over the last year sum up everything really about the takeover and management of the club during this era. The local business men who took over the club were treated like heroes and the promotion season finally wiped any memories and financial ties to the club.
2. Billy Davies took you up against all the odds a couple of seasons ago, do you feel that going up too early was counter-productive?
Financially it was a good thing but footballing wise last season was an unmitigated disaster. Don't get me wrong we saw some quality players and attractive, attacking, free-scoring football last season, the only downside was it all came from visiting teams to Pride Park. It wasn't so much the fact we lost on a regular basis it was the way we lost games, one thing went wrong and we couldn't find enough places to hide on the pitch and capitulated week after week, if it wasn't for Newcastle's ineptitude we may not have got one win!
3. Billy Davies was got rid of not long into his Premier League tenure, did you agree with the sacking?
At the time I thought he should be given more time but in hindsight with some of the stories coming out of the club it was 100% right. Davies engineered his way out of the club via the media with continuous digs at the team and the board after realising he was way out of his depth in the big league.
His summer signings consisted of ex-Preston and Scottish players only and his lack of knowledge and contacts abroad meant we were only paying over the odds for average British based players. It was summed up after a pre-season of stating we needed a left sided midfielder only to pluck Eddie Lewis from the Leeds United bench in League One to be the answer to our problems.
4. Paul Jewell was appointed, when the Rams were bottom, but not a mile away from safety, and they went down cut well adrift - To what extent did it stop becoming the fault of the previous regime, and down to Jewell?
Whilst Jewell can't claim complete lack of responsibility for last season there was no manager in the world who could have saved us from the time he took over last season. Some of his January signings haven't featured this season with Savage on his way out and Sterjovski not having made the bench so far this season but who can you attract to a club who were practically relegated by Christmas last year? The board backed him over the summer and some decent signings have been made.
5. Did you fear for Jewell's job at any point last season or this?
The 'home video' reveleations last season seemed to be a low point but the board stood by him and things appear to be looking more positive. There was unnecessary pressure in the national press when we didn't win for the first few games this season but it's slowly improving and come May we'll be looking at the top half of the table even if we're not quite challenging for the play-offs. I firmly believe he's the man to turn our club around.
6. You made a number of additions, but also alot of gone, what were the key deals to and from Pride Park this summer?
Going out of Pride Park the key deals were Kenny Miller, not many Derby fans can speak highly of him, and a number of other Billy Davies signings that Jewell seemed to want shot of, Dave Jones to Wolves was a bad deal in my opinion and he's started well with the table toppers.
Coming in the big three so far have been Martin Albrechtsen, Paul Green and Kris Commons. Albrechtsen is exactly what we have been missing, a defender who can defend, he's big, strong and quick and the defence should be built around him. Green was much of an unknown quantity having come up through the leagues with Doncaster but his energy and running from midfield have been a breath of fresh air and his seemingly endless running makes him more of a threat as the game goes on.
Commons arrived with a lot of pressure after joining from our friends down the A52 but he hasn't disappointed with his willingness to take players on have a pop from range, looks set to miss out today and his ability to pick up niggly injuries seems the only downside.
7. You added former Rangers youth product Ruben Zadkovich to your squad this summer - what do you think of him as a player from what you've seen or heard - and do you think the R's made a mistake in letting him go?
To be honest most Derby fans knowledge of Zadkovich comes from YouTube or any coverage of the Olympics they happened to catch over the summer. He looks a soild player who can play in a number of positions which is something we need but I'll reserve overall judgement until he finally pulls on a white shirt as he returned from Beijing injured and is yet to make the bench this season.
8. What players should Rangers watch out for this weekend?
As Commons looks set to miss out our creativity will come from Nacer Barazite, another of the semmingly endless supply of quality youngsters available for loan from The Emirates Stadium. His quality on the ball is unquestionable but he can drift our of games at times so needs to learn to take hold of a game more. Tito Villa has been putting in some good performances recently without finding the net and once he scores could go on a run so he may be one to look out for.
9. Conversely what players from the Rangers side do you fear if any?
Dexter Blackstock is one we know from his loan at Pride Park and he's been scoring for fun so far this season so will definitely be one to keep an eye on. Akos Buzsaky is one I've always rated from his time at Plymouth although he doesn't seem to have featured much this season and Ledesma has caught the eye in the games I've seen. If you fancy giving Camp a game I think we may fancy our chances a little more though!
10. Finally what are your predictions for Saturday?
It's gonna be a tight game although Rangers have looked impressive at home this season. Our improved confidence and fight when things aren't going well will hopefully pull a result out of this one, I'm going for a 1-1 draw.
Many Thanks To Vital Derby
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