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[FM19] Derby County - Director of Football Challenge


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2 hours ago, Irobinson69 said:

Cracking start there @Stuniverse. I’m sure that dodgy back line will be tested by injuries and suspension over the season, but 2 wins out of 3 gives you a great platform.

Anybody worth retraining to fill in your defensive gaps?

Thank you  @Irobinson69  I'm pleasantly surprised by our start and two home wins on the bounce. Sadly, you're probably right about injuries and suspensions. Wisdom will be suspended after two more matches if he keeps up his yellow per game record.

When we play AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup I plan on pairing the two back-up CBs George Evans and Josh Grant. Youngsters Lee Buchanan and Callum Minkley are Vanarama standard at best currently.

I've not looked at prospects to train as CBs. To be honest, I'm not sure how to do that as I let my AM do all training. How would I train a player to play a different position?

I have checked all my FBs and none of them can play CB.

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50 minutes ago, Stuniverse said:

Thank you  @Irobinson69  I'm pleasantly surprised by our start and two home wins on the bounce. Sadly, you're probably right about injuries and suspensions. Wisdom will be suspended after two more matches if he keeps up his yellow per game record.

When we play AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup I plan on pairing the two back-up CBs George Evans and Josh Grant. Youngsters Lee Buchanan and Callum Minkley are Vanarama standard at best currently.

I've not looked at prospects to train as CBs. To be honest, I'm not sure how to do that as I let my AM do all training. How would I train a player to play a different position?

I have checked all my FBs and none of them can play CB.

If you wanted to retrain, you'd have to look through your players and see who's got the key attributes you want out of a CB.  With your slightly higher line, you probably want acceleration, anticipation, and concentration as well as the normal workaday attributes for a CB (positioning, marking, tackling, bravery, jumping reach, heading).  I don't see a bunch of candidates in your squad from the tactics screenshots, but if you don't mind a player who isn't a great jumper filling in, Aarons and Bogle are both decent shouts (Aarons probably better than Bogle).  The caveat there, of course, is that I don't know how they've developed.

You'll have to take over training for whomever you want to retrain--just go into their training page, and select the position and role you want them to train.

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You can choose on their individual training to train them in a new position or role. Then their training will focus on the key attributes for that role. Like @Tajerio says, it helps if they have half decent attributes for CB. 

Playing them at CB as regularly as you can obviously helps them become more comfortable in the position too. Not sure if it directly affects the attributes, but they can be the greatest header and tackler in the world with the right attributes, but if they never play CB they won’t pick it up.

Your youth prospects might be a better bet if they have decent potential and determination. They’ll become League One standard quite quickly, and then Igor can sell them and fund you some proper centre backs - unless he blows it on more attacking flair players of course!

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7 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

It would be nice if you could at least tell the DOF which position you need to buy in, or what kind of player etc.  That would be much closer to real life.

Yeah, this is how I hope they do it in the future. Have a meeting with the DoF and set some goals. "Sign a creative midfielder." "Sign striker depth." etc. A bad DoF or one in a bad situation will still have trouble fulfilling the goals, but it would at least make the process feel less random.

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On 27/05/2019 at 08:11, karanhsingh said:

It would be nice if you could at least tell the DOF which position you need to buy in, or what kind of player etc.  That would be much closer to real life.

I agree, @karanhsingh. From what I can tell I can scout players, and I might be able to tell the scouting team what positions to scout (although that might not be an option as Igor has control of scouting), but I haven’t found a way to tell Igor what positions to strengthen. 

I’m not sure scouting is linked to the DoF transfer deals because more often than not when Igor makes a transfer bid for a player there is no scouting report available.

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On 27/05/2019 at 15:33, Galeg said:

Yeah, this is how I hope they do it in the future. Have a meeting with the DoF and set some goals. "Sign a creative midfielder." "Sign striker depth." etc. A bad DoF or one in a bad situation will still have trouble fulfilling the goals, but it would at least make the process feel less random.

That would be ideal, @Galeg.

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16 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

I’m not sure scouting is linked to the DoF transfer deals because more often than not when Igor makes a transfer bid for a player there is no scouting report available.

This has always been a big frustration. Even if the DoF is in control and wants to sign his own players, surely he would have arranged scouting through the club first on most occasions?

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***Update***

I posted this on the discussion thread and now know how to do it. Thanks, @herne79. I have to give myself responsibility for individual training. Now to find some suitable candidates to train as CB.

How do I retrain a position?

I've had a look on FM19 in game and I can't work out how to retrain a player in a different position.

Is it because I have no responsibilities when it comes to training as I've delegated it all out?

Help would be appreciated please... could someone tell me step-by-step what I need to do please? Thank you in advance.

Note: I don't want to take back responsibiity for full training.

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@Tajerio and @Irobinson69, I've tried what you suggested in your responses earlier in the thread (on this page) above but without success. I can't see how to do it... I think I need more detailed steps. Thank you.

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Game date: 22 August 2020

LOWE OUT FOR SIX WEEKS

RamsFanzine: Young Derby County left-back Max Lowe has twisted his ankle in training and looks set for four weeks on the sidelines.

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Game date: 23 August 2020

BUCHANAN JOINS STEVENAGE

RamsFanzine: Rams DoF Igor Stimac has loaned 19-year old centre-back Lee Buchanan to Vanarama National League Stevenage until the end of the season. Despite Derby County's well documented problems with centre-back cover sources at the club inform us that manager Stuniverse doesn't think Buchanan is anywhere near good enough for the Premier League at the moment, but hopes a loan move will see him develop as Buchanan is seen as one for the future.

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Game date: Sunday 22 August 2020

Pre-match v Liverpool (a) - Premier League (4)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: A trip to Anfield today. How are you feeling ahead of this one?

Stuniverse: It's another tough away trip and we've struggled on our travels ever since we've been back in the Premier League. We've worked hard in training and will do our best to get a result.

RamsFanzine: Liverpool are below you in the league on goal difference and lost 3-0 at Bournemouth last time out. Does that give you confidence?

Stuniverse: It gives us something to believe in but Liverpool, under Antonio Conte, are a very good team and they'll be looking to bounce back with a win.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You had a few injury scares this week, didn't you?

Stuniverse: Yes. Max Lowe twisted his ankle and will be out for a few weeks. Pau Lopez went down with a tight thigh but he's ok to play. Max Bird's ankle still isn't quite right and Albie Morgan will be out a while still with his ankle injury. And Harry Wilson is ineligible against his parent club.

RamsFanzine: Just the one change though. A surprise with transfer-listed Rodrigues coming in?

Stuniverse: Yes. I did consider moving Max Aarons to left-back and bringing in Jayden Bogle at right-back, but Kevin Rodrigues has knuckled down in training, is improving his English, and I thought he deserved an opportunity in what will be a very difficult match for him and us.

Post-match: Liverpool (1) 2-0 (0) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Is that a particularly hard result to take?

Stuniverse: Yes. It is. I thought we played really well and caused Liverpool a lot of problems. The injuries didn't help us, but I thought we were going to get through to halftime all square and could regroup. I felt sorry for Andre Wisdom. It's a difficult one. Ball is whipped in hard and low, Andre has to try and clear it or their man has a tap in, and those ones are always tricky when facing your own goal.

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RamsFanzine: How are Quina and Kagawa?

Stuniverse: Domingos Quina has done his cruciate ligaments so I doubt we'll see him playing again this season. Shinji Kagawa, his replacement, has a tight hamstring so he should be back soon.

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Game date: 23 August 2020

NAYLOR MAKES RAMS DEBUT

RamsFanzine: 18-year old central midfielder Martin Naylor [regen] made his Derby County debut when he came on at Anfield as a first-half substitute in the Rams 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

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24/08/2020

Dear Diary,

I'm happy with the start we've made to the season - two home wins against Fulham and Newcastle; two away wins at Man Utd and Liverpool, well beaten at Old Trafford, but we gave Liverpool a good run for their money at Anfield. Injuries are beginning to kick-in now and Domingos Quina will be a big miss for the season.

My biggest headache remains at CB where my #2 choice should really be #4 but we don't have the players. We've currently got our scouts looking at free-agent CBs but I'm not sure there'll be any better than what we have.

Chris Smalling, our captain, is probably our only EPL standard CB.

Andre Wisdom is our other starter, already on four yellow cards after just four matches.

As back-ups, it's looking like Josh Grant and George Evans.

Out best youth prospects are Lee Buchanan, Callum Minkley and Dean Russell.

Potential players to retrain as CBs are Max Aarons, Max Bird, Jayden Bogle, Kenedy, Max Lowe, Albie Morgan, Martin Naylor and Kevin Rodrigues.

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Game date: Tuesday 25 August 2020

Pre-match v AFC Wimbledon (H) - Carabao Cup, Round 2

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: AFC Wimbledon are 10th in League Two having won three, drawn one, and lost two. At Pride Park, you must be confident of progressing to the next round?

Stuniverse: The cup match represents a different challenge for us. I'll be making some changes to give other players playing time but we're confident of getting the result we need to progress.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've made nine changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes. Mason Mount and Kenedy keep their places, although I want to take a look at Kenedy at left-back tonight. With Andre Wisdom close to suspension, it makes sense to take a look at Josh Grant and George Evans at centre-back. Also coming in are Kelle Roos, Jayden Bogle, Martin Naylor, Louie Sibley, Harry Wilson, Martyn Waghorn and Mason Bennett. 

Post-match: Derby County (1) 1-0 (0) AFC Wimbledon 

RamsFanzine: Congratulations on making the next round. What did you think of it?

Stuniverse: For saying there were nine changes, including a fresh back five, I thought we played very well and controlled the game from start to finish. I was pleased for Mason Bennett, he's been in my ear about getting more playing time so I was delighted he got a goal on his start up front. 

RamsFanzine: Were you worried after the missed penalty?

Stuniverse: No. We were already 1-0 up and in control. Martyn Waghorn's miss - actually a great save by their goalkeeper - didn't change that.

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Game date: 27 August 2020

RAMS GO TO OXFORD IN CUP

RamsFanzine: Derby County will visit Championship side Oxford United in the 2nd Round of the Carabao Cup, after defeating AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. Oxford United, 23rd in the Championship, have already knocked out two sides at the Kassam Stadium in  League Two Aldershot (3-0) and Premier League Fulham on penalties, after a 1-1 draw. The tie will take place on Wednesday 23 September.

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Game date: Saturday 29 August 2020

Pre-match v Burnley (H) - Premier League (5)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You're 10th and only one point behind newly promoted Burnley, can you keep your impressive home form going?

Stuniverse: We hope so. We played very well in our home victories against Fulham and Newcastle and will be doing all we can to continue that home winning streak today.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: How are the injuries?

Stuniverse: Pretty much as they were plus Louie Sibley damaged ankle ligaments in training. Shinji Kagawa (hamstring) is close, but we didn't want to risk him. Max Bird (ankle) is also close, but not close enough. Max Lowe (ankle) and Albie Morgan (knee) will be a while. Domingos Quina remains long-term.

RamsFanzine: Seven changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes. Martyn Waghorn, Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Kenedy keep their places. Back in are Pau Lopez, Max Aarons, Chris Smalling, Andre Wisdom, Will Hughes, Tom Lawrence and Jack Marriott.

Post-match: Derby County (2) 3-1 (1) Burnley

RamsFanzine: Well that was quite a turn around after conceding an early goal. You must be delighted.

Stuniverse: Thank you. And yes, I am. I thought we started brightly in what was a fairly even game. A quarter of an hour in and their shot deflects past Pau Lopez. I didn't think we deserved to be behind at all but the players and a sell-out crowd responded brilliantly. It took three minutes for Tom Lawrence to go on a mazy run from the halfway line and score from inside the D. A minute later and great work by Harry Wilson saw Jack Marriott smash home a volley and we were ahead. In the second-half, Mason Mount settled our nerves with a third.

I thought we defended very well, although Pau Lopez had to make a few great saves. I thought Kenedy did well at left wing-back and his versatility definitely gives us options.

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RamsFanzine: You're sixth in the Premier League Table after three straight home wins. Can you keep the run going?

Stuniverse: We'll be doing everything we can to do that but I'd like to find a way to get some results on the road, starting at West Ham after the international break. Hopefully by then we'll have some of our walking wounded back available.  

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Game date: 12 September 2020

RAMS FAIL IN BID TO SIGN GALLOWAY

RamsFanzine understand that Derby County were hoping to sign 24-year old free agent centre-back Brendan Galloway, but a deal could not be concluded due to a lack of remaining budget. It looks like Rams manager Stuniverse will have to work with the squad he has until the January transfer window and, even then, it appears DoF Igor Stimac will have to move players out before he can bring anybody else in. 

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Game date: Saturday 12 September 2020

Pre-match v West Ham United (a) - Premier League (6)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You're 7th in the Premier League, two points ahead of 12th placed West Ham. How confident are you of still being ahead of the Hammers at the final whistle?

Stuniverse: No game is easy in the Premier League, but we've been playing well at home, and caused Liverpool a lot of problems at Anfield in our last away match. We're confident of getting a result at the London Stadium.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: How's the injury list?

Stuniverse: Improving, thanks. Shinji Kagawa (hamstring) and Max Bird (ankle) are on the bench and Albie Morgan (knee ligaments) and Louie Sibley (ankle) won't be too far away.

RamsFanzine: One change. No Aarons today, why's that?

Stuniverse: Max Aarons was looking a bit jaded in training so he drops to the bench and Jayden Bogle starts.

Post-match: West Ham United (0) 0-1 (0) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Congratulations on your first away win in the Premier League this season.

Stuniverse: Thank you. I thought we were good value for it, although West Ham did make things difficult for us. It was great to see Shinji Kagawa win it with a stunning goal on his return from injury.

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RamsFanzine: The win sees you 4th in the league table. You've had a great start to the season, can you keep it going?

Stuniverse: We're all delighted with the start we've made but we're not getting ahead of ourselves. There's a lot of football still to be played and a lot of hard work to be done yet.

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Game date: Saturday 19 September 2020

Pre-match v Huddersfield Town (H) - Premier League (7)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You've got a 100% record at home this season. You must be confident ahead of the visit of bottom club Huddersfield, who come here on the back of four straight defeats? 

Stuniverse: We won't be underestimating Huddersfield Town or their manager Jan Siewert, but we've been very focussed in training this week and are confident of getting a good result.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Two changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes. Max Aarons returns instead of Jayden Bogle and Shinji Kawaga is fit enough to start, with Martyn Waghorn missing out.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 0-0 (0) Huddersfield Town

RamsFanzine: You've maintained your unbeaten home record but how disappointed are you at not winning that game?

Stuniverse: I thought we did everything we could to win the match today but our finishing wasn't good enough. We created more than enough chances to win but weren't clinical enough. On another day we'd have won that match comfortably.

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RamsFanzine: You're 6th and already you're eight points clear of the relegation zone. You have to be pleased with that?

Stuniverse: Yes, of course. But we still have 31 league matches to go so it's very early days.

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Game date: Wednesday 23 September 2020

Pre-match v Oxford United (a) - Carabao Cup 3rd Round

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Oxford United are bottom of the Championship but knocked out Premier League Fulham in the last round. How do you view your trip to the Kassam Stadium?

Stuniverse: Oxford are struggling in the league, but Neil Lennon's team have done very well in two home cup games so we're not taking anything for granted. We'll be mixing our team up again to give some of the fringe players playing time, but we're still confident of getting a result.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Seven changes. You've made more for this type of game before?

Stuniverse: Yes. Injuries to Albie Morgan (knee), Mason Bennett (abdominal strain), Louie Sibley (concussion) and Max Lowe (ankle) have meant I couldn't mix it up as much as I'd have liked. Kenedy, Harry Wilson, Shinji Kagawa and Jack Marriott all keep their shirts.

In come Kelle Roos, Josh Grant, George Evans, Jayden Bogle, Martin Naylor, Max Bird and Martyn Waghorn.

Post-match: Oxford United (0) 1-4 (3) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Congratulations. You must be delighted with that?

Stuniverse: Yes, I am. Thank you. We scored four through Harry Wilson, Jack Marriott, Martin Naylor and Jayden Bogle and could easily have scored a good few more. I was delighted to see Martin score his first senior goal. He's worked so hard in training and thoroughly deserved it.

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Game date: 26 September 2020

RAMS ARE BLACKBURN BOUND IN THE CUP

RamsFanzine: Derby County have been drawn away to fellow Premier League Blackburn Rovers in the 4th Round of the Carabao Cup.

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Game date: Sunday 27 September 2020

Pre-match v Crystal Palace (a) - Premier League (8)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Crystal Palace are third bottom, seven points behind you, and have lost four of their last five matches. Are you confident ahead of your visit to Selhurst Park?

Stuniverse: I'm sure Alan Pardew and his players will want to end their bad run but we've been working hard in training and are confident of doing well today.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've reverted back to your league team with seven changes today. 

Stuniverse: I wouldn't say I have a league team and a cup team, but I can understand why you might think that. The changes are Pau Lopez (for Kelle Roos), Max Aarons (for Jayden Bogle), Andre Wisdom (for George Evans), Chris Smalling (for Josh Grant), Will Hughes (for Martin Naylor), Mason Mount (for Max Bird) and Tom Lawrence (for Martyn Waghorn). 

Post-match: Crystal Palace (0) 0-2 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Another impressive away win, you're making the Premier League look easy, aren't you?

Stuniverse: I wouldn't say that at all. The Premier League is a very tough league, arguably the toughest in the world. Every team has international players. Ask me again in three matches time.

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RamsFanzine: That victory sees your Derby team 5th in the Premier League, nine points clear of the relegation zone. Not bad after eight matches, is it?

Stuniverse: No. Not bad at all. We've only lost to Manchester United and Liverpool so far but next up for us are another three of the so-called big six - Tottenham at home, Chelsea away, and Manchester City at home. It's nice to have a cushion going into a run of matches against the top teams as we never had that luxury last season.

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Game date: 2 October 2020

STUNIVERSE SET TO EXTEND RAMS STAY

RamsFanzine have been told by club sources that Derby County owner and chairman Mel Morris has sounded out Rams manager Stuniverse about his willingness to discuss an extension to his contract which runs until the end of the season. Our sources tell us Stuniverse is open to extending his tenure and official contract talks are set to take place soon.

It should come as no surprise that lifelong Rams fan Stuniverse wants to continue his managerial career at Pride Park as he has declined managerial job interviews at Leicester City and Newcastle United in recent months.

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On 03/06/2019 at 00:03, JaytheGreat said:

@Stuniverse Now that's a nice run of form, keep it up and this season will be a lot less stressful then last season. Sucks that a really talented player like Quina is done for the year so early. 

Thanks, @JaytheGreat, I’m very pleased with our start to the season but agree with you that losing Domingos Quina for the season is a massive blow.

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On 03/06/2019 at 00:22, Irobinson69 said:

Storming it @stuniverse!! Champions League beckons with only the mighty Chris Smalling at centre half :)

Thanks, @Irobinson69. Champions League football with a one man defence (Chris Smalling) now that would be something to behold...

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Updates will resume this weekend and then continue with more regularity. Apologies for the delay and thank you for your patience.

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5 hours ago, psychonaut said:

Great career so far. Looks like this season is going a lot better than last too - although I did enjoy the last day of the season drama.

Thanks, @psychonaut. I enjoyed the end of season drama in our first season when we got promoted but the drama at the end of last season was pretty intense. At times, I felt it was inevitable we were going to get relegated #greatescape

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Game date: 3 October 2020

STUNIVERSE EARNS NEW CONTRACT

RamsFanzine: Derby County owner and chairman Mel Morris appeared absolutely delighted to announce that Rams manager Stuniverse had signed a four-and-a-half year contract extension, keeping him  at Pride Park until the summer of 2025.

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Game date: Saturday 3 October 2020

Pre-match v Tottenham Hotspur (H) - Premier League (9)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Congratulations on your new contract. As you were in your last year, how much of a relief is it to get things sorted this early in the season?

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Stuniverse: Thank you. I wouldn't say it's a relief but, yes, it's a great feeling to have this all sorted so we can get on with the job in hand. After last season, when we survived on goal difference, it shows that Mel Morris [owner] and the board know just how big an achievement that was. Getting promoted is difficult enough, but surviving in the Premier League takes difficulty to a whole new level.

RamsFanzine: Tottenham Hotspur visit Pride Park as Premier League leaders and their manager has been speaking very highly of you and your team. How do you view things?

Stuniverse: It was very nice to hear Mauricio Pochettino speak so highly of us and what we've achieved so far. I respect him for that and, equally, I think he's doing a brilliant job as manager of Tottenham. They are top of the league on merit for me. There's no doubt this represents a significant litmus test for us this season and it'll be a tough ask to keep our unbeaten home record intact. You never know, though, stranger things have happened and we want to maintain our good home form.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: No changes to the starting 11 or the substitutes bench.

Stuniverse: That's right. Everybody did brilliantly at Selhurst Park last time out and, with the walking wounded no closer to a return, they all go again - even the subs.

RamsFanzine: Any news on the injury front?

Stuniverse: Nothing new really. Mason Bennett (abdominal) is back in training but he's not ready yet. Louie Sibley (concussion), Albie Morgan (knee), and Kevin Rodrigues (calf) are still unavailable. Domingos Quina (ACL) will be out long-term.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 0-1 (1) Tottenham Hotspur

RamsFanzine: You came so close to getting a result today. How disappointed are you?

Stuniverse: Very. We deserved to get something out of this game and I feel for the players who worked so hard, and the fans who were outstanding, that we didn't. When their goalkeeper gets the Player of the Match it says it all. Hugo Lloris made superb saves to deny Jack Marriott, twice, Harry Wilson, Mason Mount, and Will Hughes. Any one of those go in and the result could've been different. And then their goal, right on the stroke of half-time, and VAR goes against us. 

RamsFanzine: From what we hear VAR got it right. Ali was about an inch onside, Wisdom played him on.

Stuniverse: Well [shrugs]. Them's the breaks.

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RamsFanzine: You're sixth though. Eight points clear of the relegation zone. What's the plan for the international break?

Stuniverse: Well we have two tough games on the horizon at Chelsea and then here against Man City. So we do what we can to prepare and hope our internationals come back in good condition. It also gives our medical team some time to get some of our walking wounded back in contention. 

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Game date: 8 October 2020

JOHNSON ADDS TO INJURY CONCERNS

RamsFanzine: Derby County's injury list continued to grow this week as Bradley Johnson picked up a back strain in training and could be out for up to four weeks. Although Johnson is transfer listed, Rams manager Stuniverse needs as many fit players available to him as possible with Johnson now taking the number of players unavailable for selection to seven.

  • Albie Morgan - knee
  • Bradley Johnson - back strain
  • Domingos Quina - ACL
  • Kelle Roos - ill
  • Kevin Rodrigues - calf
  • Louie Sibley - concussion
  • Mason Bennett - abdominal strain

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15/10/2020

Dear Diary,

I'm delighted to have signed a new contract until the summer of 2025. I know that doesn't guarantee I'll be at Derby County for the next four-and-a-half years, as this is a very results driven business, but it's pleasing to know the owner, Mel Morris, and the board are realistic and understand the enormity of the task here.

We welcomed our international players back into training today and they all looked fit and raring to go. Excellent news. Despite Bradley Johnson straining his back and Kelle Roos having to be sent home with a cold, the medical staff have managed to get Mason Bennett, Louie Sibley and Albie Morgan back onto the training ground. 

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I watched our U23s come from behind to defeat Tottenham U23s earlier this week. Mason Bennett scored both goals and looked very sharp after his abdominal strain. At my request to Darren Wassall (Head of Youth Dvelopment), Josh Grant and George Evans continue to play as a centre-back pairing and did well. Max Bird and Albie Morgan, from the senior squad, also played well.

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George Evans came to see me to say he didn't think he was good enough to play at this level and wanted to leave the club. I told him it was a long season and he'd get his chance eventually, and George seemed ok with that.

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I felt bad though. I agree with George, I don't think he is good enough to play in the Premier League but, because we're threadbare at centre-back, and Evans can play there, I need to keep him around as emergency cover.

In other news, my Assistant Manager, Aljosa Asanovic, informed me he's noticed an improvement in Andre Wisdom and thinks Wisdom's potential may be more than he thought during pre-season.

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My Director of Football, Igor Stimac, told me he's been impressed with young Martin Naylor's development.

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Finally I asked Igor about the contract situation for himself and my coaching staff as their contracts are all up in the summer. Igor said he'd not had any conversations with Mel about his own contract and, consequently, he hadn't spoken to Aljosa Asanovic (AM), Stefano Eranio (FTC), and Mart Poom (GK C) about their contracts. Maybe I should've been more sensitive as Igor seemed a bit put out.?! Oh well, I can't dwell on that as we have a big match at Stamford Bridge to prepare for.

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Game date: Sunday 18 October 2020

Pre-match v Chelsea (a) - Premier League (10)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You'll be a quarter of the way through the season after today's match and you go into it knowing that a win would put you 4th in the Premier League.

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Stuniverse: That's true [laughs]. But there's still three-quarters of the season to go and it's where you are after 38 matches that counts, not where you are after 10. We know Zinedine Zidane has a fantastic Chelsea team so it's going to be a tough challenge for us at Stamford Bridge.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Just the one change today and that's enforced, isn't it?

Stuniverse: Yes. Yeah, it is. Mason Mount can't play against his parent club, so Martin Naylor comes in and there'll be a change of role for Will Hughes. I'm delighted Mason Bennett is available again and he's on the bench. Mason Bennett looked very sharp for the U23s in midweek, scoring two goals.  

Post-match: Chelsea (4) 5-2 (0) Derby County

RamsFanzine: How do you sum that one up?

Stuniverse: Chelsea were much better than us. It's as simple as that. They scored five and had two more ruled out by VAR for offside. We have to realise that in only our second season in the Premier League these sort of results are going to happen from time to time against the big six. We have to get it out of our system and go again. 

RamsFanzine: You finished strongly.

Stuniverse: Yeah [laughs]. We won the last five minutes 2-0 when the match was already lost. Seriously, though, it was good to see the players kept going to the end and the goals came from two great strikes from Will Hughes and Jack Marriott.

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RamsFanzine: Kagawa went off injured in the first half. How is he?

Stuniverse: It looks like Shinji Kagawa has pulled his hamstring. He could be out for three weeks.

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14 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

Game date: 3 October 2020

STUNIVERSE EARNS NEW CONTRACT

RamsFanzine: Derby County owner and chairman Mel Morris appeared absolutely delighted to announce that Rams manager Stuniverse had signed a four-and-a-half year contract extension, keeping him  at Pride Park until the summer of 2025.

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Did you take a 40k cut in what you were offered?? True club man saving the wage budget!

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3 hours ago, Irobinson69 said:

Did you take a 40k cut in what you were offered?? True club man saving the wage budget!

Hi, @Irobinson69. Yes, I did. I don’t know whether it actually makes any difference or not but, if it does, I’d rather Igor has that money in his budgets. 🐏

I know the theory is that it makes sacking me more affordable for the club but, hey, I started with a one year contract, which got extended by two years in the first season of this save, and has just been renewed again... so I’ll take that risk. Owner Mel Morris and the board seem to like me 😀

Well done for spotting that... I wondered if anybody would!

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Game date: Saturday 24 October 2020

Pre-match v Manchester City (H) - Premier League (11)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You go into this home match four points behind second placed Man City. Can you get a result and close the gap?

Stuniverse: Well we're hoping too. We gave Liverpool a very tough game here earlier this season and we deserved something from the game when Tottenham came here last time out. We're confident, but we need results against the so-called big six to turn that confidence into belief.

RamsFanzine: Pep Guardiola was very complimentary about you and your British based squad in his press conference.

Stuniverse: It's good of Pep to say that but any credit there should go to our Director of Football Igor Stimac.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Two changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes. It was hugely disappointing for Shinji Kagawa to go down with a hamstring injury so Mason Mount returns in his place after missing out against his parent club Chelsea. Max Lowe comes in for Martin Naylor, allowing us to push Kenedy further forward.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 0-1 (1) Manchester City

RamsFanzine: How do you reflect on that match?

Stuniverse: Disappointment at another loss, but immense pride at the way my players worked to make things difficult for Man City. They are a very good team, they had way more possession than us, but we defended very well and they didn't have a single clear cut chance. Their goal was ridiculously lucky, a shot hits the post and rebounds against our goalkeeper and goes in. I don't blame Pau Lopez as there was nothing he could do about that.

At the other end I thought we created some good chances of our own and Ederson had to show why he's a world class goalkeeper.

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RamsFanzine: Another first-half injury, this time for Mount. What can you tell us?

Stuniverse: Yes. I think we have more injuries right now than anybody else. Mason's done something to his hamstring so he could be out for around five weeks.

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RamsFanzine: A difficult run of matches against three of the big guns in Tottenham, Chelsea, and Man City but you come through it in 8th place, six points above the relegation zone. How pleased are you with that?

Stuniverse: I'm disappointed to be honest. We were well beaten at Chelsea, but I thought we deserved something against Tottenham, and we could easily have got something today. Last season we were 16th at this stage and a run of games against the big six always had us looking nervously at other results, so to be sitting 8th shows an improvement. 

We've played five of the big six already and only have Arsenal (7th) left to play in the first half of the season. I'm pleased with how we're doing but we need to get back to picking up points against the other teams otherwise our good start to the season will count for nothing.

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25/10/2020

Dear Diary,

I called a team meeting today as I thought our heads were down a bit after losing our last three matches, two at home, even though they were against three of the top four in Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea.

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I reminded the players that we are a good team and that if we dig in deep and work hard then the results will pick up again. Our only defeats this season have all been against the big six teams.

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Our injury list is a worry and a concern though:

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Now we have to forget the big six and focus on trips to Blackburn Rovers (16th) in the Carabao Cup and Leicester City (6th) in the Premier League.

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Pre-match v Blackburn Rovers (a) - Carabao Cup Round 4

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: After three league defeats on the spin, does the opportunity to reach the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup with a win at Blackburn give you some welcome relief from the pressures of the Premier League.

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Stuniverse: No, not really. We need to get back to winning football matches and our trip to Ewood Park is the next match on the fixture list. It doesn't mater whether it's a cup match, or a league match, we want to win.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You normally make a lot of changes for the Cup but not tonight. What's your thinking behind just two changes? 

Stuniverse: Max Bird comes in for the injured Mason Mount (hamstring) and I've brought Jayden Bogle in for Max Aarons. To be honest we're very thin on the ground as Albie Morgan joined the injury list this week after going down with a groin strain in training. We want to win this match and I didn't have many options if I was to put out a competitive team with a chance of doing that.

Post-match: Blackburn Rovers (1) 1-1 (1) Derby County
Blackburn win 4-3 on penalties

RamsFanzine: How galling is it to lose on penalties like that?

Stuniverse: Of course, it's disappointing, but penalty shootouts are always a lottery. I don't think Martyn Waghorn and Mason Bennett missed so much as David Raya produced two good saves to Pau Lopez's one. It was a shame for Harry Wilson as he scored a magnificent solo effort and was the best player on the pitch in my opinion. Harry didn't deserve to be on the losing side.

RamsFanzine: Would you have preferred extra-time?

Stuniverse: Normally I'd say yes as you have a chance to win or lose it by playing football rather than the lottery of penalties. But tonight I thought it was good to go straight to penalties. Some of my players were dead on their feet by the end of 90 minutes. They put everything they had into today's game, as they have done all season, and in the second-half I think that caught up with us. You sometimes question why I make so many changes for cup matches and that's why. You need a squad. It's too much to ask a core of 13 or 14 players to play every match. Unfortunately our long list of injuries meant I couldn't rest players who normally I would've rested.

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Naylor is starting to look like he could really become one of the world's best in his position. It would be great for you if that were the case, rather than having to rely on Igor to sign established players in sensible positions. Still a good start to the season, you were never likely to get any points out of the last 3 league games.

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1 hour ago, coady said:

Naylor is starting to look like he could really become one of the world's best in his position. It would be great for you if that were the case, rather than having to rely on Igor to sign established players in sensible positions. Still a good start to the season, you were never likely to get any points out of the last 3 league games.

Yes @coadyMartin Naylor is developing very nicely and has probably already overtaken our (in real life) young midfield Academy graduate Max Bird. The challenge will be giving Naylor and, if possible, Bird sufficient playing time to help their development.

It would be quite ironic if, in a season or two’s time, it’s Darren Wassall (Head of Yth Dev) that brings through my best player, not Igor Stimac (DoF).

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11 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

Hi, @Irobinson69. Yes, I did. I don’t know whether it actually makes any difference or not but, if it does, I’d rather Igor has that money in his budgets. 🐏

I know the theory is that it makes sacking me more affordable for the club but, hey, I started with a one year contract, which got extended by two years in the first season of this save, and has just been renewed again... so I’ll take that risk. Owner Mel Morris and the board seem to like me 😀

Well done for spotting that... I wondered if anybody would!

I used to do the same. Makes far more sense, but now I’m just a greedy sod! They must love you offering you that. After 2 seasons finishing 6th in the Premier League they’d only give me 35k, and I was getting 65k managing England part time (though maybe that didn’t help my bargaining situation with Big Mel.

They only shelled out 65k when Man Utd invited me to an interview after finally sacking Mourinho. 

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Tough run of games there. Unlucky not to pick any points up, but you could probably do without the Carabao Cup with your injury list. 8th not a bad place to be, I’m sure you would have taken that after last season. Hopefully your rousing speech at the team meeting gets them back to winning ways.

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18 minutes ago, Irobinson69 said:

I used to do the same. Makes far more sense, but now I’m just a greedy sod! They must love you offering you that. After 2 seasons finishing 6th in the Premier League they’d only give me 35k, and I was getting 65k managing England part time (though maybe that didn’t help my bargaining situation with Big Mel.

They only shelled out 65k when Man Utd invited me to an interview after finally sacking Mourinho. 

LOL @Irobinson69.

🐏 ❤ Stuniverse 

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