IT’S BOLD BUT NICK IS NEW DERBY OP­TION

The Football League Paper - - ADAM VIRGO -

NICK Black­man has al­ways had a hefty goal tally in him. But un­til this sea­son, he’s never man­aged to show it.

Now, af­ter a £2.5m move from Read­ing to Derby, it will be very in­ter­est­ing to see if he can keep up the form that’s net­ted 13 goals in 22 games.

How will he fit into the sys­tem? Paul Cle­ment loves play­ing one up front and very rarely goes 4-4-2. If Chris Martin is fit, he’ll al­most cer­tainly be the first choice striker.

Is Paul just try­ing to add ex­tra goals to his bench? Is he try­ing to give Martin a kick up the back­side? Top scorer in each of the past two sea­sons, the 27-year-old has scored just once in the past 11 games.

Per­son­ally, I think Paul is just look­ing for a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion. If you look at Mid­dles­brough, with Stu­ani, Nu­gent and Kike, their front­line ro­tates reg­u­larly and of­fers lots of dif­fer­ent op­tions.

Derby are stuck in one sys­tem be­cause both Dar­ren Bent and Martin are big, strong play­ers who drop off and like the ball to feet. That’s great when it works but it can also clog up mid­field.

Black­man can run in be­hind, forc­ing the op­po­si­tion back four to drop deep and open­ing space for the likes of Tom Ince and Bradley John­son. He should make the Rams less pre­dictable.

What­ever the case, not many sides in this divi­sion can af­ford to risk £2.5m on a guy with six months left on his con­tract. It’s a very bold move.

GOALS: Nick Black­man

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