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[FM19] Derby County - Director of Football Challenge

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14 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

Hypothetical question (at this stage)

[Game date: February 2021]

My DoF’s contract is due to expire on 30/06/2021. If Igor Stimac is not offered a new deal, and is out of a job on 01/07/2021, what happens to the save?

I think you carry on, I'd place an advert (as the Club would) and I think you should decide who gets it.  The manager would have some impact on that decision in real life, a Club wouldn't appoint someone who would clash with the manager so I definitely think you should choose who would replace Igor. 

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@stuniverse The choice is clear, you need me cracking some skulls in the backroom.

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3 hours ago, JaytheGreat said:

@stuniverse The choice is clear, you need me cracking some skulls in the backroom.

When can you start, @JaytheGreat?

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Tuesday 16 February 2021

Pre-match v Liverpool (a) - F.A. Cup Round 5

Match Preview

FAC5_Liverpool_preview.thumb.png.ef66ba6b6f655e17142f47bca20920f6.png

RamsFanzine: It looks like you won't get dragged into a relegation scrap now. Does that free things up for you to focus on the cup?

Stuniverse: Yes. It does. More so than last season any way. But we're away to Liverpool. Going to Anfield is a big ask for anyone - I don't care who you are - and it's a big, big ask for us. But we're going to Anfield in confident mood and will do the best we can. I know this squad of players will give it everything.

Team Selection

FAC5_Liverpool_selection.thumb.png.5fc82eafcf00e273995435cd5ba2accf.png

RamsFanzine: And on top of that, you're down to the bare bones, aren't you?

Stuniverse: It is what it is, but, yes. Shinji Kagawa is suspended, Harry Wilson can't play against his parent club, Nicky Brogan is cup-tied, and we have Will Hughes (ankle), Max Lowe (knee), Martin Naylor (ankle) and Domingos Quina (ACL) all out injured.

RamsFanzine: Three changes, with all that?

Stuniverse: Yes. In come Jayden Bogle, Max Bird and George Evans for Shinji Kagawa, Will Hughes and Mason Bennett.

RamsFanzine: And a very young bench?

Stuniverse: Forced on us really. With the exception of Kelle Roos, our number 3 goalkeeper, I think everybody who's available is in the 18 so Josh Grant, Albie Morgan and Dean Russell all make the bench.

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

RamsFanzine: You held out for 73 minutes and then the game just seemed to get taken away from you. Is that how you saw it?

Stuniverse: Pretty much. Given the team we could put out I thought the players stuck to their tasks, worked hard, and made things difficult for Liverpool. But quality told in the end when they took the lead. In changing things around to try and get back into the game, we conceded a second. I thought the penalty decision was harsh at the end and justice was done when Pau Lopez saved  Alexander-Arnold's spot-kick.

FAC5_Liverpool_report.thumb.png.0f84dc4f8ae5059673a58d461772457c.png

FAC5_Liverpool_stats.thumb.png.f9055795d416684dbe485c97182503cb.png

FAC5_Liverpool_analysis.thumb.png.4d5a04da92dd2261c99e3ec9e83edb45.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 20 February

Pre-match v Crystal Palace (H) - Premier League (27)

Match Preview

EPL27_CPalace_preview.thumb.png.6441e9c8c4d8a8a9c77bc94797d20cfb.png

RamsFanzine: Palace come to Pride Park on the back of four straight league defeats. That must give you confidence?

Stuniverse: Yes, it does. But we still have to do our jobs out there on the pitch. Patrick Vieira's team beat League One Charlton 4-0 in the cup at the weekend so Palace are no mugs. We have to take them seriously and be professional out there.

Team Selection

EPL27_CPalace_selection.thumb.png.7d3d7ee78cd5fbb9ec0c156b34e0c935.png

RamsFanzine: Three changes last time. Another three changes this?

Stuniverse: Yes. Shinji Kagawa, Will Hughes and Mason Bennett all return for Max Bird, Jayden Bogle and George Evans. All three are on the bench, alongside Martin Naylor who's recovered from his ankle injury.

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

RamsFanzine: Another game where you had to be patient but that patience paid off. How pleasing is it to win 1-0?

Stuniverse: It's pleasing to win any game. I'd much rather it was 2-0 or 3-0 because 1-0 is never comfortable, but it builds confidence knowing we can keep them out and not concede.

RamsFanzine: And that's Lopez's 16th clean sheet of the season. One more and he sets a club record...

Stuniverse: Really? I didn't know that. Pau Lopez has been outstanding for us this season. I was delighted for Will Hughes when he scored the winner. Will loves this club and he always wanted to play in the Premier League for Derby; he thought that dream had gone when he left for Watford. Fortunately we were able to bring him back and he's loving it.

EPL27_CPalace_lgTab.thumb.png.81a74752f05007874ea5e6753f9adbfa.png

RamsFanzine: The win sees you climb to 7th and a potential European qualification place. Can you achieve that?

Stuniverse: We've had a fantastic season so far. Far better than everybody was predicting back in the summer. This squad of players have grown and bonded so much this season and we're seeing the fruits of that on the pitch. Who knows what this squad of players can achieve this season. 

EPL27_CPalace_report.thumb.png.7af8523eb92cfb58748a37fcb121155b.png

EPL27_CPalace_stats.thumb.png.1fb9aad6f9d4d211a48854541e40c19c.png

EPL27_CPalace_analysis.thumb.png.3fccefd1c2fb1163d322b5bae8238092.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Wednesday 24 February 2021

Pre-match v Tottenham Hotspur (a) - Premier League (28)

Match Preview

EPL28_Tottenham_preview.thumb.png.5460f72aa19de671e037da422b5203f8.png

RamsFanzine: A trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face a team who are 2nd in the Premier League table and lifted the Carabao Cup at the weekend. How are you feeling?

Stuniverse: Mauricio Pochettino is doing a great job at Tottenham and deserves the accolades coming his way for winning the League Cup. I also think Spurs will push Man City all the way for the title. We're under no illusions about the task ahead of us tonight but, as always, we'll give it everything and see how we get on. 

RamsFanzine: It's the start of a difficult run for you: Spurs (2nd) away, Man City (1st) away, and then home games against Chelsea (6th) and Leicester, who you're in a battle for 7th with. How do you approach that difficult run? 

Stuniverse: One game at a time. We're not thinking beyond tonight's game right now.

Team Selection

EPL28_Tottenham_selection.thumb.png.efbec3409aae9002dfa3c9030e54f1ea.png

RamsFanzine: An unchanged team, but good news on the bench?

Stuniverse: The 11 that started against Palace performed very well so they've earned the right to go again against Tottenham. Our medical team inform me we can get 75 minutes out of Harry Wilson, should we need him, so he takes a spot on the bench with Louie Sibley very unfortunate to miss out.

Post-match: Tottenham Hotspur (1) 4-2 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: The Americans have a phrase for things like that. 'Close, but no cigar.' How do you sum it up?

Stuniverse: Look, I've said all along that it's fine margins at this level. If Mason Bennett scores, instead of hitting the post early on, then maybe Tom Lawrence's superb strike puts us 2-0 up, instead of 1-0, and then maybe it's a different game. There's a lot we can be proud of in this game. I loved the way we kept going after falling 2-1 behind and Shinji Kagawa's moment of individual brilliance to equalise was a joy to see. We kept going, kept trying to do the right things...

RamsFanzine: What was the difference in the end?

Stuniverse: Harry Kane. When they have a striker of that quality, and he's on his game, there's not much you can do to stop him. I wish he'd saved his hat-trick for another match though.

EPL28_Tottenham_lgTab.thumb.png.fd3759d0e2c143539d0301c0a183fe0d.png

RamsFanzine: Leicester drew so you've dropped back to 8th?

Stuniverse: We still have ten matches to play. We have a tough three matches coming up. We're going to work as hard as we can, pick up as many points as we can, and see where we end up.

EPL28_Tottenham_report.thumb.png.46ca3b825cb6bbae3cbc6b354a051d85.png

EPL28_Tottenham_stats.thumb.png.07735a65afa5f11cd298e488ce47d6dd.png

EPL28_Tottenham_analysis.thumb.png.7d241480eb5bf69497d1825b8328f848.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 25 February 2021

RAMS REMAINING FIXTURES 

RamsFanzine: With ten league games left this season, here are Derby County's remaining fixtures:

25022021_remaining_fixtures.thumb.png.aa5aafaab49854354d114312e3c19287.png

EPL28_Tottenham_lgTab.thumb.png.6208244fcdbcf978005ff00916993335.png

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Game date: 6 March 2021

RAMS YOUTH INTAKE

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac today announced the names of the 16 youth players who will be assessed as potential candidates to join the Rams Academy as first-year scholars next season.

According to Stimac, Aaron Pride (GK), Ben Shanley (DRC) and John Wright (AMLC) are the three players most likely to become stars of the future.

06032021_youth1.thumb.png.17205002c4334536acb83f06730fad74.png

06032021_youth2.thumb.png.b4a4de9ed362da69cd5a98314ef9f0fd.png

06032021_youth_aaron_pride.thumb.png.06ffbeec61198467e8e191c40f9ea91b.png

06032021_youth_ben_shanley.thumb.png.c5ed47812d9e0d13812da539e293979b.png

06032021_youth_john_wright.thumb.png.aebffa5f8a41052881d844c8d9a61421.png

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 6 March 2021

Pre-match v Manchester City (a) - Premier League (29)

Match Preview

EPL29_ManCity_preview.thumb.png.3e5b3f77b16d24517e309c95902f84ef.png

RamsFanzine: Manchester City are top of the Premier League and unbeaten in their last 12 league matches, winning 11 of them. Can you get anything out of your visit to The City of Manchester Stadium?

Stuniverse: Pep Guardiola has got his team playing very well at the moment, but we're going up there and we'll give it our best shot.

Team Selection

EPL29_ManCity_selection.thumb.png.60d6df91917ce8f944dc9cd7320191ff.png

RamsFanzine: We heard Kagawa and Sepe would struggle today, what's the latest?

Stuniverse: Shinji Kagawa has a facial injury but can play with a protective mask. Luigi Sepe has a minor knee injury. The only change to the starting line-up is Jayden Bogle in for Mason Bennett.

Post-match: Manchester City (0) 1-2 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Wow! I didn't see that result coming. You only had 40% possession, yet you've beaten the league leaders in their own back-yard. How did you do it? 

Stuniverse: We worked tremendously hard. We made ourselves difficult to play against. Pau Lopez was sensational in goal. And we clinically took our chances. Jayden Bogle scored a good header in the first-half, and Jack Marriott sealed it with a great strike on the counter-attack after the break. We could've had three but Ederson brilliantly denied Jack a brace.

RamsFanzine: They put you under tremendous pressure in the closing minutes and had the ball in the back of the net twice. How close was it to being 2-2?

Stuniverse: You're referring to the disallowed goal, yes? At the time it looked like Andre Wisdom had scored an own goal, I agree, but the VAR clearly showed he'd been pushed and it wasn't a goal. A couple of minutes later Foden scored with a stunning strike but if the own goal had stood, it doesn't necessarily follow that Foden would have equalised. I thought our defending was of the highest quality from first whistle to last. 

EFL29_ManCity_lgTab.thumb.png.59338f938ed9f4684ece25c1f8f047a7.png

RamsFanzine: The win takes you back into 7th place and a possible Europa Cup spot. Next up is Chelsea, at home, in two days time. How will you prepare?

Stuniverse: Well we've already given our fans an Easter to enjoy and I thought the 3,000 of them who travelled today were amazing. I'm afraid though, our preparations for Chelsea on Monday will consist of seeing who's recovered and fit enough to play, and picking a team accordingly.

EFL29_ManCity_report.thumb.png.013e4e3da252c8501144574d64976a1f.png

EFL29_ManCity_stats.thumb.png.c5508bb1b6151609a5e564f8d5bc4394.png

EFL29_ManCity_analysis.thumb.png.2550ec9937b005dd5f028dab209e3d3a.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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If AI Guardiola were posting here, he'd be having a moan about getting FM'd.  Always fun to smash and grab one.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Tajerio said:

If AI Guardiola were posting here, he'd be having a moan about getting FM'd.  Always fun to smash and grab one.

You’re absolutely right he would, @Tajerio. And yes, it was fun! 😀🐏

In-game though, AI Pep Guardiola maintained a dignified silence. At least, he didn’t say anything that was brought to my attention.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, psychonaut said:

Good, solid progress. Especially that Man City win.

Thank you, @psychonaut. I did enjoy the Man City victory even though, as @Tajerio said, it was a smash and grab.

By my calculations we are 11 points clear of 11th place, and 23 points clear of 18th, with nine games to go.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Stuniverse said:

Game date: 6 March 2021

RAMS YOUTH INTAKE

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac today announced the names of the 16 youth players who will be assessed as potential candidates to join the Rams Academy as first-year scholars next season.

According to Stimac, Aaron Pride (GK), Ben Shanley (DRC) and John Wright (AMLC) are the three players most likely to become stars of the future.

06032021_youth1.thumb.png.17205002c4334536acb83f06730fad74.png

06032021_youth2.thumb.png.b4a4de9ed362da69cd5a98314ef9f0fd.png

06032021_youth_aaron_pride.thumb.png.06ffbeec61198467e8e191c40f9ea91b.png

06032021_youth_ben_shanley.thumb.png.c5ed47812d9e0d13812da539e293979b.png

06032021_youth_john_wright.thumb.png.aebffa5f8a41052881d844c8d9a61421.png

DERBY COUNTY - FIRST YEAR SCHOLARS CONFIRMED

07032021_youth_scholars.thumb.png.9f2acae9255cecac069f239d2af2d331.png

07032021_youth_scholars2.thumb.png.8fe2b1a151f7877bc814b1917fb102e4.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 8 March 2021

BOGLE EXTENDS RAMS DEAL

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac announced that 20-year old right-back Jayden Bogle has extended his Rams contract until the summer of 2024. 

Bogle has made 17 senior appearances this season in all competitions, nine of them starts, primarily the back-up to Max Aarons. He's also played as a defensive winger recently as manager Stuniverse has changed the system he uses against the big six teams.

08032021_bogle_contract.thumb.png.67b1626f231c3188c8fa338aa48a15c5.png

08032021_bogle.thumb.png.ad9ab89b78e5e20ca14f4e1edca9e93d.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Monday 8 March 2021

Pre-match v Chelsea (H) - Premier League (30)

Match Preview

EPL30_Chelsea_preview.thumb.png.16aa37d07c92073cf0536fafcb167943.png

RamsFanzine: You play Chelsea just two days after playing Man City. How do you feel about that?

Stuniverse: It seems harsh given that we've had two days to recover from Saturday and Chelsea last played on Thursday. I know there's always been two league matches over Easter, and that's fine if everybody plays the two games and they're evenly spaced, but TV has messed with the schedule and, in Chelsea's case, allowances have been made for their EURO Cup matches, meaning Chelsea only play one league match over Easter whilst everyone else plays two.

Chelsea Easter fixtures:

EPL30_Chelsea_fixtures.thumb.png.d716772f6ad56d71f641dc18a9e6df9c.png

Derby Easter fixtures:

EPL30_Derby_fixtures.thumb.png.2688ab25d7f8e59bdc5747f79f79387b.png

Team Selection

EPL30_Chelsea_selection.thumb.png.51cef4d67e81779cc6c2f21ef0384bbe.png

RamsFanzine: What does that mean for your team selection?

Stuniverse: Four changes. Will Hughes, Tom Lawrence and Shinji Kagawa all look jaded and are on the bench. Mason Mount is unable to play against his parent club. So, Harry Wilson, Mason Bennett, Martin Naylor and Max Bird all start.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 0-3 (2) Chelsea

RamsFanzine: You can't be happy after losing 3-0 at home like that, surely?

Stuniverse: Of course, not. And I know the fans won't be happy. But it was just one game too far for us. Zinedine Zidane has a bigger squad than us, and more quality than us, so it was always going to be an uphill task. We did our best to put out as fit a team as we could, one that could compete against Chelsea, but you saw for yourself, we looked leggy, and tired, and lethargic after two days rest whilst Chelsea benefited from five days rest.

EPL30_Chelsea_Lawrence_inj.thumb.png.efd537d7891968dae4b693bd8fc8b3f7.png

RamsFanzine: How's Lawrence?

Stuniverse: Tom Lawrence has a hamstring injury and that's exactly why we shouldn't be expected to play two matches in three days.

EPL30_Chelsea_lgTab.thumb.png.2e18584176871997cbea1d430b81aeaf.png

RamsFanzine: You're 7th and Leicester are 8th on the same points. That promises to be some game at Pride Park on Friday, doesn't it?

Stuniverse: Yes it does. We'll give the players a day off and then we'll prepare for Leicester.

EPL30_Chelsea_report.thumb.png.25d255c51bd5e039c16237354b6405b6.png

EPL30_Chelsea_stats.thumb.png.1c819f3d47ec108ef8d72e0743524b62.png

EPL30_Chelsea_analysis.thumb.png.c94880f5b3bc81dbaf2781618a3defe7.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 9 March 2021

QUINA COMMITS TO DERBY FUTURE

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac has confirmed that 21-year old midfielder Domingos Quina has extended his Rams contract until the summer of 2025. It's understood, the contract includes a £77 million release clause that expires after the 2024 January transfer window.

Quina made four starts in the Premier League this season before damaging cruciate ligaments. Quina is expected back in training this month, but whether Rams manager Stuniverse would want to risk Quina in the remaining games of the season remains to be seen.

09032021_Quina_contract.thumb.png.7ca5072822f8b08a1ad6e3fb5049274a.png

09032021_Quina.thumb.png.69b343432133c0b792932b86d3cd04d2.png

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Friday 12 March 2021

Pre-match v Leicester City (H) - Premier League (31)

Match Preview

EPL31_Leicester_preview.thumb.png.c3b063ae4ba32866bf22b02ba1e99407.png

RamsFanzine: Leicester visit Pride Park having not won for four league matches. Does that give you the advantage?

Stuniverse: We're at home, certainly, and we'll have a full house behind us, but I'm sure Marcelo Bielsa will have his Leicester team up for the game. But we've trained well this week and are confident of getting a result.

Team Selection

EPL31_Leicester_selection.thumb.png.a2f6c1b154733f740c3075d88ccb784d.png

RamsFanzine: How are the injuries looking?

Stuniverse: Shinji Kagawa no longer needs his protective mask and Max Lowe (knee) is on the bench, although he's not fit enough to start. We're still without Tom Lawrence (hamstring), Luigi Sepe (knee) and Domingos Quina (ACL).

RamsFanzine: Any changes from last time?

Stuniverse: Yes. Three. Shinji Kagawa for Tom Lawrence, Mason Mount for Martin Naylor, and Will Hughes for Max Bird.

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

RamsFanzine: Congratulations. That win means you've mathematically avoided relegation with seven games still to play. How does it feel?

Stuniverse: I won't lie. It feels absolutely amazing. After staying up on goal difference on the final day last season, almost everybody had us favourites for the drop this season. I understand that, but we believed we were a stronger squad this season and I'm thrilled for the players that we've been able to prove that. Mason Bennett scored a great goal today and I'm so pleased for him. Mason made his debut for us at just 15 and he loves this club. Mason epitomises what we're trying to do here.

EPL31_Leicester_lgTab.thumb.png.f68a24b3eff7df2e39c0b57c41cdd6e6.png

RamsFanzine: The win also consolidates your position in 7th and a possible EURO Cup place. How important is it you secure that EURO place?

Stuniverse: We want it, that's for sure. And if we can qualify it would be a magnificent achievement for this squad of players. Its vitally important that we keep going with survival secured. We can't afford to get lazy now after all the hard work we've put in this season to get us into this unbelievable position.

EPL31_Leicester_report.thumb.png.2379fe5558ea57abc1404549c685ba1f.png

EPL31_Leicester_stats.thumb.png.8fd373aaaa8fea84c48b460770b52eb9.png

EPL31_Leicester_analysis.thumb.png.87698bb2a81eb72da1e0edf8c8c0ac8b.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 15 March 2021

BENNETT INJURY SETBACK

RamsFanzine understand that Mason Bennett has pulled a hamstring in training and is likely to be out for at least two weeks. The injury will be a huge blow for Bennett who had been staking a serious claim over recent weeks for a  regular starting place.

15032021_bennett_injury.thumb.png.c456ffcb47dd0a1404c2925a6ea385d9.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 19 March 2021

KEY COACHING STAFF EXTEND CONTRACTS

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac announced today that Assistant Manager Aljosa Asanovic, Goalkeeping Coach Mart Poom and First Team Coach Stefano Eranio have all extended their contracts until the summer of 2023.

Earlier this season, Rams manager Stuniverse extended his contract until the summer of 2025.

Uncertainty still surrounds the future of Stimac himself as the Rams Director of Football's contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

15032021_Asanovic_contract.thumb.png.a6520316c80b876bd29f019a9ce140cf.png

15032021_Asanovic.thumb.png.1f9da43e737b642cbc7d96a5d4a243de.png

15032021_Poom_contract.thumb.png.3b0d84c9b321fadae3fb2678ddf30c45.png

15032021_Poom.thumb.png.13b0cd114a35ca6d3203ca16d50ad443.png

15032021_Eranio_contract.thumb.png.191872126e98058751d561298dd03599.png

15032021_Eranio.thumb.png.d260d3ab614339e78514483bdb85031b.png

 

15032021_stimac.png

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Game date: 25 March 2021

NAYLOR SIDELINED

RamsFanzine understand that Martin Naylor will be out of contention for a couple of weeks after pulling ankle ligaments in training.

25032021_naylor_injury.thumb.png.a05708b8dbfbcdf74fd2802f382534d4.png

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Posted (edited)

Derby legend or not, Stimac deserves to lose his DoF status for that last transfer window tbh. Side has 2 centre backs capable of playing above League Two level, and he throws all his effort into signing a guy who isn't out of contract until the end of the season, doesn't want to play for you, is 33 and a bit slow for Premier League football already. And doesn't get him. 

Pretty much any Championship defender or big club's U21 player on loan would have strengthened the squad...

 

Another potential option for DoF - Eranio looks like he could spot a few talents...

Edited by enigmatic

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, enigmatic said:

Derby legend or not, Stimac deserves to lose his DoF status for that last transfer window tbh. Side has 2 centre backs capable of playing above League Two level, and he throws all his effort into signing a guy who isn't out of contract until the end of the season, doesn't want to play for you, is 33 and a bit slow for Premier League football already. And doesn't get him. 

Pretty much any Championship defender or big club's U21 player on loan would have strengthened the squad...

 

Another potential option for DoF - Eranio looks like he could spot a few talents...

Thanks, @enigmatic. I have to agree with you that the last transfer window was a disaster.

Club owner and chairman Mel Morris is responsible for hiring and firing both manager and director of football and renewing contracts. Mel extended my contract back in October but it’s all very quiet regarding Igor’s contract situation.

2702021_owner_responsibilities.thumb.png.c2b601d7ec0d0096752d63c20fdfee12.png

2702021_owner_responsibilities2.thumb.png.93da82126061c0a0a5ddd2c6d50f4a58.png

Still not sure what will happen if Igor leaves or is released at the end of the season... but it's been well discussed earlier in the thread so I have options.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 27 March 2021

Pre-match v Everton (a) - Premier League (32)

Match Preview

EPL32_Everton_preview.thumb.png.50191bdf9bb0826fc7470d68999e911f.png

RamsFanzine: Leicester have already lost to Arsenal so a win at Goodison Park will really put you in the box seat in the race for seventh.

Stuniverse: It would. But Everton beat us at Pride Park earlier in the season and caused us a lot of problems that day. We've worked on those things in training, obviously, and are confident going into this one, but it won't be an easy game for us.

Team Selection

EPL32_Everton_selection.thumb.png.e141b23bfc7619d118b274427f860905.png

RamsFanzine: You've gone 15 days without a game because of the International break. Has that helped with the injuries?

Stuniverse: Yes. Tom Lawrence didn't go away with Wales and we've been able to get him fit to play. Shinji Kagawa (face), Max Lowe (knee) and Luigi Sepe (knee) are all recovered and available for selection. Mason Bennett (hamstring) and Josh Grant (thigh) gave us a scare but they're both fit to play. Domingos Quina (ACL) is back in full training but I don't want to rush him back. Martin Naylor is unavailable today as he pulled ankle ligaments in training and Harry Wilson only makes the bench as he's a bit jaded after playing for Wales.

RamsFanzine: Any changes?

Stuniverse: Only one. Tom Lawrence replaces Harry Wilson. Luigi Sepe and Max Lowe are back on the bench.

Post-match: Everton (1) 2-1 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: You took the lead and were looking good. Where did it go wrong?

Stuniverse: Maybe we made the game a bit more open than it needed to be but, I agree with you, we had a very good first-half and when Mason Mount gave us the lead I thought we deserved to be ahead. Everton are a tough, well organised side, and they're difficult to play against, especially with Jordan Pickford in goal. They equalised just before half-time and, credit to Manuel Pelligrini, he used that to his advantage during the break. Everton stepped up a level in the second-half and they were better than us.

EPL32_Everton_lgTab.thumb.png.6555ac817cb0ad01f916848757be301f.png

RamsFanzine: Things have tightened up in the EURO Cup race with Southampton now joining you and Leicester in a three-horse race. Does that worry you?

Stuniverse: No, not really. We still have Southampton to play and we're ahead of both Leicester and Southampton. It's in our own hands and, to be honest, we're delighted to be in the EURO Cup discussion rather than the relegation discussion.

EPL32_Everton_report.thumb.png.680325fa1681f5f9d196ba5d05bf25cf.png

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 30 March 2021

SEASON OVER FOR KAGAWA

RamsFanzine understand that attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa has pulled his hamstring in training and is unlikely to play again this season.

30032021_kagawa_inj.thumb.png.5e9f0b2b3aeac142bc5c39dfd7d72fc8.png

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Game date: Friday 2 April 2021

Pre-match v Blackburn Rovers (H) - Premier League (33)

Match Preview

EPL33_Blackburn_preview.thumb.png.44f78167a3a9dec8c229b095ca2d75dd.png

RamsFanzine: You won 2-0 at Ewood Park earlier in the season. Can you complete the double over Blackburn today?

Stuniverse: Blackburn are comfortable in mid-table and I'm sure Joss Thorup will have them fired up. We've had a good week in training and go into this one prepared and confident.

Team Selection

EPL33_Blackburn_selection.thumb.png.6ca00b2faaa5ec7627703de477f7c884.png

RamsFanzine: Any changes today?

Stuniverse: Just the one. Harry Wilson in for Shinji Kagawa (hamstring). Domingos Quina still isn't quite ready to be risked. Martin Naylor (ankle) and Josh Grant (hamstring) are also out injured.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 0-0 (0) Blackburn Rovers

RamsFanzine: We don't see many goalless draws from your Derby. Was this a fair result?

Stuniverse: Probably. We thought we were a bit too open against Everton so we tried to tighten up a bit. Maybe we took that a bit too far, although the injuries to Mason Mount and Mason Bennett disrupted things for us. Overall I thought we worked hard and our inability to score was more down to Raya having a good day in their goal. 

RamsFanzine: How are the injuries?

Stuniverse: Fortunately not too bad. A minor hamstring issue (Mount) and groin problem (Bennett). Hopefully, they'll both be back for the Southampton game.

EPL33_Blackburn_lgTab.thumb.png.63e3d1e58956195c64603c1eda03d926.png

RamsFanzine: Leicester won to close the gap, but Southampton lost. Makes for a big game at St Mary's next time up, doesn't it?

Stuniverse: They're all big games in the Premier League but, yes, we're looking forward to that one. We'll give the players a couple of days off and then get down to business again.

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EPL33_Blackburn_analysis.thumb.png.369aa9b31c0cc31357f376f342268887.png

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Game date: 4 April 2021

WISDOM'S RAMS FUTURE IN DOUBT

RamsFanzine understand that Andre Wisdom has turned down Derby County's offer of a new contract . Wisdom, who's current contract expires at the end of the season, has been an ever present in the Premier League at the heart of the Rams defence alongside Chris Smalling. Relegation threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers are believed to be interested in signing Wisdom, although it's not clear yet whether Wolves will be playing in the Premier League or the Championship next season.

04042021_wisdom_snub0.thumb.png.b2a1b0b674258296948629898244ff42.png

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04042021_wisdom_lgTab.thumb.png.548b0ed09c7b8db0bfa0204bbbeaf9b5.png

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Igor can't lose Wisdom, he's struggling to bring in 1 CB, I can't imagine how hard it will be for him to bring in 2. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JaytheGreat said:

Igor can't lose Wisdom, he's struggling to bring in 1 CB, I can't imagine how hard it will be for him to bring in 2. 

Well Igor seems to be losing Wisdom at the moment, @JaytheGreat. He won’t even enter into contract negotiations after the last breakdown.

I’m wondering if I should be more hands-on this summer transfer window and set some CB transfer targets for Igor (or whoever the DoF is)? There’s three, possibly four CBs I could target who would meet my ‘rule’ of a Derby County connection.

My coaching staff inform me that Smalling has deteriorated from a good Premier League player to a decent one, even though he’s played every EPL game for us this season. Looks like his age could very well catch-up with him nest season.

Edited by Stuniverse

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I just caught up with this thread, amazing work! That is a great season you are having. 

However the CB situation only seems to be getting worse :herman:

Who are the targets you have in mind with a Derby connection? Also did you manage to retrain anyone?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

I just caught up with this thread, amazing work! That is a great season you are having. 

However the CB situation only seems to be getting worse :herman:

Who are the targets you have in mind with a Derby connection? Also did you manage to retrain anyone?

Thank you, @karanhsingh. I can't believe how well this season has gone to be honest.

But yes,the CB situation is getting much worse (Smalling's attributes are declining, Wisdom won't sign a new contract, Evans - who's being trained up - really isn't good enough, the other CBs are youngsters who are way off EFL level). Jayden Bogle is also being trained at CB but I really see him as a RB, currently back-up to Max Aarons.

In terms of CB transfer targets who have a connection with Derby County on this save, there are nine potentially (note * = screenshot below):

  • Medhi Benatia (33*) and Aissa Mandi (29*) who Igor tried to sign this Winter transfer window (work permits may be an issue)
  • Marcelo (33*) who Igor tried to sign in the Summer transfer window
  • Gustavo Gomez (27) who played for us on loan in the PL last season 2019/20 - 34 appearances, Ave 6.89
  • Fikayo Tomori (23) who played for us on loan in the Championship Title Winning season 2018/19 - 29 appearances, 2 goals, Ave 6.95
  • Plus Alex Pearce (32), Semi Ajayi (27) and Efe Ambrose (32 - work permit unlikely) but as these weren't good enough in the Championship season 2018/19 I'm not overly keen
  • And Alfred N'Diaye (31*) who played DM for us in the EPL 2019/20, but can also pay CB - 30 appearances, Ave 6.75

There's also four CBs with a connection to the Rams in real life who may be worth considering:

  • Michael Keane (28*) - on loan in 2013/14
  • Raul Albentosa (32*) - 2014/15 and 2015/16
  • James Tomkins (32*) - on loan in 2008/09
  • Daniel Ayala (30*) - on loan in 2010/11

Of course, there's NO GUARANTEE that any of these would want to sign for us...

medhi_benatia.thumb.png.dfac5c23c9a7d177e647489f9b88b7c9.png

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 10 April 2021

Pre-match v Southampton (a) - Premier League (34)

Match Preview

EPL34_Southampton_preview.thumb.png.ffb5f408d622b02c503228b674c063c0.png

RamsFanzine: Southampton are two places and four points behind you. If you win at St Mary's that will as-good-as knock them out of the EURO Cup race, won't it?

Stuniverse: It might do, yes, but I'm sure Brendan Rodgers and his Saints team will want to close that gap to one point. We did beat them 1-0 at Pride Park earlier in the season so we're going there in confident mood, but expecting a difficult game.

Team Selection

EPL34_Southampton_selection.thumb.png.087611fe86e76edaf0b38c9ada798799.png

RamsFanzine: You've gone with an unchanged side, but there's a couple of surprises on the bench.

Stuniverse: Yes. We've been on a good run lately with a fairly settled side so, even though it was 0-0 against Blackburn last time, I thought I'd keep it settled. By surprises I assume you're referring to the return of Martin Naylor (ankle) and Domingos Quina (ACL). Don't get too excited about Domingos being on the bench; whilst it's great to have him back this season, we'll be wrapping him in cotton wool until the pre-season.

Post-match: Southampton (1) 1-3 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: When Southampton took the lead, did you think you'd come back to win?

Stuniverse: I have a lot of confidence in this squad of players, and we were playing well, so yes I was confident, but you never know in football. We were aggrieved, more than anything else. Pau Lopez was fouled in my opinion. He had both hands on the ball and Ezequiel Ponce bundled it out of his grasp. That's a foul as far as I'm concerned and I don't understand why it wasn't referred to VAR. But we didn't let it get to us. We kept going, despite some good saves from Angus Gunn, and two goals from Mason Mount had us ahead at the break and Tom Lawrence sealed it in the second half.

RamsFanzine: You took Wisdom off late-on and surprisingly played Bogle out of position there. Why was that?

Stuniverse: Andre Wisdom was on a yellow card so it was a bit of protection really. We don't have another recognised centre-back. We know what George Evans can do at centre-back, so I wanted to take a look at Jayden Bogle there. I thought Jayden did ok.

EPL34_Southampton_Wilson_inj.thumb.png.4223bef25514e7bd0bbad989fec96c6d.png

RamsFanzine: Wilson limped off. How is he?

Stuniverse: Harry Wilson's pulled his hamstring so it'll be touch and go if we see him playing again this season.

EPL34_Southampton_lgTab.thumb.png.da3b8e18da470a5a438c9127ecf545f3.png

RamsFanzine: Home to Leeds next, who overtook Southampton today. Another big game, isn't it?

Stuniverse: Given the rivalry, games against Leeds are always big matches but this one has something else riding on it, possible EURO Cup qualification, so it promises to be a massive game. I'm sure the atmosphere at Pride Park will be electric.

EPL34_Southampton_report.thumb.png.5c03cb7459caf3a70716990e1f97a019.png

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EPL34_Southampton_analysis.thumb.png.a36bdd806cfec7f5fda943994f7dc475.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Another massive win!!  Could European football be on it's way to Pride Park??  

 

Out of interest, how far are you in front of the story?  I wrote a story for another site in 2013 and I was about 6 months ahead at all times. 

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4 minutes ago, dap1987 said:

Another massive win!!  Could European football be on it's way to Pride Park??  

Out of interest, how far are you in front of the story?  I wrote a story for another site in 2013 and I was about 6 months ahead at all times. 

Thank you, @dap1987. As I’ve said previously, I can’t believe how well this season is going.

I haven’t played beyond the Southampton game and I try to update this thread in real time. When I’m playing this save on FM19, I have Paint and Notepad open in the background, as well as this Forum. If something interesting happens, I take a screenshot and update the thread.

I use a template for the journalistic match interaction which I amend based on the circumstances for any match at the time. I write the first bit before selecting the starting 11 and subs. Then I pick the team and write the Team Selection bit. Then I play the match and write the post-match stuff.

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1 minute ago, Stuniverse said:

Thank you, @dap1987. As I’ve said previously, I can’t believe how well this season is going.

I haven’t played beyond the Southampton game and I try to update this thread in real time. When I’m playing this save on FM19, I have Paint and Notepad open in the background, as well as this Forum. If something interesting happens, I take a screenshot and update the thread.

I use a template for the journalistic match interaction which I amend based on the circumstances for any match at the time. I write the first bit before selecting the starting 11 and subs. Then I pick the team and write the Team Selection bit. Then I play the match and write the post-match stuff.

That's a good way of doing it, I think if I did another I would definitely make it more "live" ... although I typed my full story in a Word document and then just copy and paste that onto the website, that way I always had it and that was probably why I got so far ahead. 

 

It has been a great season, hopefully you can close it out with a couple more wins and a top 7 finish and then it's down to Igor (or the next DoF) to spend well in the summer for you to push on :) ...and definitely buy a couple of CBs!! 

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2 minutes ago, dap1987 said:

That's a good way of doing it, I think if I did another I would definitely make it more "live" ... although I typed my full story in a Word document and then just copy and paste that onto the website, that way I always had it and that was probably why I got so far ahead. 

It has been a great season, hopefully you can close it out with a couple more wins and a top 7 finish and then it's down to Igor (or the next DoF) to spend well in the summer for you to push on :) ...and definitely buy a couple of CBs!! 

Thanks, @dap1987. I think it works well that way. It keeps it fresh in my mind and I can react as genuinely as possible. Also my memory isn’t great so, for example, if I was running ahead by a few weeks I probably wouldn’t have remembered that I thought Ponce fouled Lopez for the Southampton goal.

If we can beat Leeds then it’s a two horse race for 7th between us and Leicester. I think the lowest we can finish now is 10th. Unbelievable! Come on you, 🐏s.

Yes. Interesting summer ahead, for sure. Will Igor still be here? What will happen about CB? Kenedy, Mount and (to a slightly lesser extent) Wilson, have been right up there as our best players. They’re all on loan and go back to their parent clubs in the summer.

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1 minute ago, Stuniverse said:

Thanks, @dap1987. I think it works well that way. It keeps it fresh in my mind and I can react as genuinely as possible. Also my memory isn’t great so, for example, if I was running ahead by a few weeks I probably wouldn’t have remembered that I thought Ponce fouled Lopez for the Southampton goal.

If we can beat Leeds then it’s a two horse race for 7th between us and Leicester. I think the lowest we can finish now is 10th. Unbelievable! Come on you, 🐏s.

Yes. Interesting summer ahead, for sure. Will Igor still be here? What will happen about CB? Kenedy, Mount and (to a slightly lesser extent) Wilson, have been right up there as our best players. They’re all on loan and go back to their parent clubs in the summer.

A top half finish will be some achievement, got to hope the board don't go setting you unrealistic targets for next season though! 

 

The joy of loan signings, they will be big boots to fill as well.  I'm applaud you so much for not trying to get involved in the transfers, I'm not sure I could do it at all! 

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25 minutes ago, dap1987 said:

A top half finish will be some achievement, got to hope the board don't go setting you unrealistic targets for next season though! 

The joy of loan signings, they will be big boots to fill as well.  I'm applaud you so much for not trying to get involved in the transfers, I'm not sure I could do it at all! 

Thanks, @dap1987, hadn't thought about how it might influence Board expectations.

Not getting involved in the transfers certainly makes life as a FM Manager (frustrating) interesting... I'm glad I made the rule about setting transfer targets where there is a Derby County connection though.

I've thoroughly enjoyed doing this Career Update on here and I'm already thinking about what my first FM20 save on here will be... not sure, it will be a DoF Challenge though. 

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Game date: 15 April 2020

RAMS ONE OF NINE PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS MAKING A PROFIT

RamsFanzine: Derby County reaping the financial rewards of life in the Premier League.

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15042021_finances.thumb.png.020905021347eb9aa4137ba6de4ef0d6.png

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21 minutes ago, Stuniverse said:

I've thoroughly enjoyed doing this Career Update on here and I'm already thinking about what my first FM20 save on here will be... not sure, it will be a DoF Challenge though. 

Hope you don't mind me clogging up your thread with questions ... 

 

Have you written anything else on here?  I will have a read if you have.  Picking another challenge is always a bit harder, you have the connection with Derby so you have to think carefully and try and get yourself involved in the Club too.  I'm a Man City fan, have been since my dad took me in 1989, but I struggle managing City now, I just don't enjoy it. 

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, dap1987 said:

Hope you don't mind me clogging up your thread with questions ... 

Have you written anything else on here?  I will have a read if you have.  Picking another challenge is always a bit harder, you have the connection with Derby so you have to think carefully and try and get yourself involved in the Club too.  I'm a Man City fan, have been since my dad took me in 1989, but I struggle managing City now, I just don't enjoy it. 

Hi, @dap1987. I don’t mind the questions at all, but I’d like to keep this thread relevant to the save itself so I’ll direct message you on here if that’s ok.

Happy to hear from anyone by direct message if you have questions or want to discuss anything that isn’t directly related to this Derby County - Director of Football Challenge.

Edited by Stuniverse

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What a fantastic season this is shaping up to be. Let's hope Liverpool don't let you down in the final! I wouldn't worry too much about Igor's contract situation, they tend to get new deals last minute. I'm a bit surprised he's sorted many of your staff contracts so soon, to be honest. He must be better than most DoF's I've experienced!

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13 minutes ago, coady said:

What a fantastic season this is shaping up to be. Let's hope Liverpool don't let you down in the final! I wouldn't worry too much about Igor's contract situation, they tend to get new deals last minute. I'm a bit surprised he's sorted many of your staff contracts so soon, to be honest. He must be better than most DoF's I've experienced!

Thanks, @coady. We’ve just got to do our jobs over the last three games and then hope Liverpool win the FA Cup.

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Super stuff as always. Good luck for the last few games although it seems like you have 7th place sewn up, so all depends on Liverpool now. 

Of the CBs you mentioned earlier, sounds like Michael Keane  & Gomez would be the best bets maybe alongside Tomori as a squad player.

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8 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Super stuff as always. Good luck for the last few games although it seems like you have 7th place sewn up, so all depends on Liverpool now. 

Of the CBs you mentioned earlier, sounds like Michael Keane  & Gomez would be the best bets maybe alongside Tomori as a squad player.

Thank you, @karanhsingh. I may see if I can get a freebie ticket and attend the FA Cup Final. I’ll tell Mel Morris I’m going on a scouting mission.

It’s going to be an interesting summer transfer window, that’s for sure...

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 24 April 2021

Pre-match v AFC Bournemouth (a) - Premier League (36)

Match Preview

EPL36_Bournemouth_preview.thumb.png.1ff4abb481579de2be916e4cb51fd7cc.png

RamsFanzine: Leicester beat Liverpool 3-2 earlier today to move within two points of you. Does that add to the pressure of your game at The Madejski Stadium?

Stuniverse: Well it's a bit odd going to Reading for an away game against Bournemouth, but I don't think it increases the pressure. No. Bournemouth aren't having the best of seasons, but I doubt they'll get relegated. We know Paul Lambert has some very good players and Bournemouth will be a difficult game for us. But we've trained well and will give everything we've got to get a result.

Team Selection

EPL36_Bournemouth_selection.thumb.png.9a69ca65e8b3a260be5e563f74ea6783.png

RamsFanzine: You've kept with the exact same 18 that defeated Leeds 3-0, but you had a couple of scares in the build-up, didn't you?

Stuniverse: Yes. Kenedy bruised his ankle and Tom Lawrence bruised his shoulder in training. We weren't sure if they'd be fit to play but our medical staff have passed them both good to go.

Post-match: AFC Bournemouth (1) 2-1 (0) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Bournemouth secured their Premier League survival but it wasn't the result you were hoping for. What happened?

Stuniverse: Simple. We weren't clinical enough in front of goal. Overall, I thought we played quite well. We created twice as many chances as they did, but didn't get anywhere enough of them on target. I was delighted for Max Lowe scoring his first ever goal for Derby but it was too little, too late. Credit to Bournemouth, they took their chances better than we did.

EPL36_Bournemouth_lgTab.thumb.png.b403505b1cc25e86d857710af7938712.png

RamsFanzine: Leicester and Southampton both won and it's closed up again in the race for 7th. With a two point lead and significantly better goal difference, you're still in the box seat though. You finish with two home games. Can you secure that 7th place?

Stuniverse: We hope so, but Wolves and Arsenal won't be easy matches.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: Saturday 1 May 2021

Pre-match v Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) - Premier League (37)

Match Preview

EPL37_Wolves_preview.thumb.png.2d2b42d78de8d19752bc2ac1bdb528d0.png

RamsFanzine: Last time out Bournemouth beat you to avoid relegation. Today you face a Wolves team who know a win keeps them up, while you're looking to win and consolidate possible EURO Cup qualification. What sort of game are you expecting today?

Stuniverse: A tough one. A tight one. The pressure's on both of us but I think the pressure is more on Wolves in their relegation fight. Giovanni Van Brockhorst's side have drawn their last three matches so it's not going to be easy. We're at home, having won 3-0 at their place earlier in the season. We'll be cheered on by a capacity crowd. We're confident.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Two changes. Both at full-back. What's your thinking there?

Stuniverse: Well, right-back was forced. Max Aarons went down with food poisoning yesterday so Jayden Bogle comes in. It's been a long season for Tom Lawrence, and he's picked up a few, niggly knocks recently, so he's on the bench today. Kenedy pushes forward and Max Lowe, who did brilliantly when coming on against Bournemouth, starts at left-back. Harry Wilson is back on the bench after his hamstring injury.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 1-1 (0) Wolverhampton Wanderers

RamsFanzine: It turned out to be a tight game, just like you thought, but how disappointed are you to have only drawn after being 1-0 up with six minutes to go?

Stuniverse: It's disappointing, yes. There was nothing in it, really, and both goalkeepers were busy, but not too busy. We got the lead through Martyn Waghorn but couldn't get the second which, I think, would've sealed it. We know how hard we scrapped and fought for everything last season when we were battling relegation and, credit to Wolves, they did the same today and rescued what could be a very valuable point for them.

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RamsFanzine: Leicester drew as well so you go into the final game of the season two points ahead of the Foxes. Leicester are home to West Ham, you're home to Arsenal. You need to get a result against Arsenal to guarantee 7th place and a possible EURO Cup place. 

Stuniverse: We do. And it's going to be a tough ask against Arsenal. But, with everybody predicting we'd get relegated at the start of the season, to be guaranteed a top eight finish, and being 90 minutes away from a 7th placed finish... well, that just shows what a fantastic season we've had. We'll be training hard, preparing thoroughly, and trying our best to get the win we need against Arsenal...

RamsFanzine: A draw should do it with your superior goal difference.

Stuniverse: It should, I agree, but I think it's dangerous to play for a draw. We'll be trying to win and, whatever happens, I hope our fans are pleased with the fantastic season we've had. Securing 7th, though, would be the icing on the cake. 

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