The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

GARY Rowett is a ta­lented man­ager, but I think it might take him a cou­ple of years to change the men­tal­ity at Derby. I saw the Rams lose 3-0 at Brighton in Steve McClaren’s last game. He was sit­ting just in front of me and he left the stand af­ter about six min­utes. Even at that stage, they looked dis­jointed. Any one of that start­ing XI could get into most Cham­pi­onship sides. I bet train­ing is ab­so­lutely bril­liant. Great tempo, great keep-balls and five-a-sides. But, come match day, they have such a soft un­der­belly. They get knocked over very eas­ily. You saw in last week­end’s 2-2 draw with For­est that Achilles heel of fail­ing to see a game out. Yes, Chris Martin has been a big miss. Why they let him join Ful­ham is any­one’s guess. He was the only striker they had who liked to come short and link play. I guar­an­tee McClaren would have had him back in Au­gust and I’d be surprised if Gary, inset, didn’t, ei­ther. But the big­ger is­sue seems to be one of men­tal­ity. Be­fore the Brighton game, Derby weren’t math­e­mat­i­cally out of play-off con­tention, but it looked like they were on their hol­i­days. Gary won’t al­low that. I think he’ll want to sign more lead­ers and char­ac­ters. But there will be play­ers on de­cent con­tracts. Big names who want to stay put. As with Steve Bruce at Aston Villa, it could take a cou­ple of win­dows to sort out. Nev­er­the­less, Gary comes in with real pedi­gree. He’s done well wher­ever money is tight. That tells you he’s had to work on shape, or­gan­i­sa­tion and man-man­age­ment. At Bur­ton and Birm­ing­ham, his sides were well or­gan­ised and dif­fi­cult to beat. Re­cently, Derby have been dis­or­gan­ised and easy to beat. De­fen­sively, I ex­pect to see im­prove­ment in the fi­nal eight games. The speed of Gary’s ap­point­ment should give him con­fi­dence. Clearly, there was no­body else in the frame. Give him a de­cent bud­get in the sum­mer and Derby will make strides.

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