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[FM19] Derby County - Director of Football Challenge

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 25 August 2018

Pre-match v Preston North End (H) - Championship (5)

RamsFanzine: The loan window closes on Friday 31 August. Are you expecting any business either in or out?

Stuniverse: Igor will be better able to answer that question than me but, from what I'm hearing, it's all pretty quiet on that front at the moment. As you know Calum Macdonald has gone on loan to Wrexham but I'm not aware of anything else. I'm happy with the squad I've got and they're a genuine bunch of hard working players who want to do their best for Derby County. I'll take that. Of course, if Igor can do any business over the next week to improve the squad that would be a bonus.

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: After losing at home to Leeds and Ipswich you must be hoping for an improvement against Preston today?

Stuniverse: Of course, we are. It's frustrating because we've been playing well at home but not getting the results. The Ipswich match felt like we were the victims of a smash-and-grab raid. It's more frustrating because we've won both away matches. Training has gone well, though, and we're confident of getting a result today.

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RamsFanzine: How are the injuries looking?

Stuniverse: Ikechi Anya (groin) could probably play 45 minutes if we needed him. Tom Huddlestone (groin) and Henrich Ravas (knee) aren't that far off. Curtis Davies (hamstring) and George Evans (knee) will be a while yet and Marcus Olsson (ACL) will miss most of the season.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've brought in King for Bryson and recalled Forsyth for Cole. What's the thinking behind those changes?

Stuniverse: I felt we were a little bit lightweight in midfield against Ipswich and hopefully Andy King will help us take more control in that midfield area. Ashley Cole had been out injured for a while and I thought he looked slightly leggy so I've recalled Craig Forsyth at left-back.

RamsFanzine: Jack Marriott had a poor game against Ipswich.

Stuniverse: He did. But that's the first match where he's been below par. Jack's our top goal scorer with five goals from four matches and I have total confidence in him.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 3-0 (0) Preston North End

RamsFanzine: Congratulations on getting that monkey off your back.

Stuniverse: Thank you. Like I said to you, I wasn't too worried because we were playing well but, I must admit, it's not nice to lose back-to-back home matches. There were just under 30,000 in Pride Park today and I'm glad we sent the Rams fans home with a smile on their faces. They can enjoy their weekend now.

RamsFanzine: Declan Rudd made some fine saves to keep you out, did you think it was going to be one of those matches?

Stuniverse: It was Bialkowski last time, and Rudd today, so yes that thought did flash through my mind but I have to stay positive and encourage the players from the touchline. I have confidence in this squad and their ability to score goals. 64 minutes was a long time to wait but it was worth it for Harry Wilson's stunning free-kick. His second one, that effectively put the match out of their reach was, if anything, even better. And it was nice for Fikayo Tomori to score a goal as well.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 28 August 2018

Max Bird injured in training

RamsFanzine report that Max Bird bruised an ankle in training today and will almost certainly be out of contention for the Carabao Cup 2nd Round match against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium tomorrow. Bird has not made an appearance for the first team so far this season but is highly regarded at Pride Park and may have been in contention for a place on the bench before bruisig his ankle.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Wednesday 29 August 2018

Pre-match v Leicester City (a) - Carabao Cup 2nd Round

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Leicester City are currently sitting in 7th place in the Premier League table, is this Carabao Cup match a big game for you or a distraction from the real business of the Championship?

Stuniverse: It's not a distraction from the league, although it does provide a break from the rigours of the Championship. We've been looking forward to this one ever since the draw and it's a great opportunity to test ourselves against a very good Premier League side.

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RamsFanzine: Is King available?

Stuniverse: No, as part of the loan deal we agreed with Leicester City, Andy King can't play against his parent club. Ikechi Anya (groin) is back in full training now. Max Bird (ankle), Tom Huddlestone (groin) and Henrich Ravas (knee) aren't that far off. Curtis Davies (hamstring) and George Evans (knee) will be a while yet and Marcus Olsson (ACL) is still long-term.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've only made one change today. Bryson for King.

Stuniverse: Yes, and that one was enforced due to the terms of King's loan agreement. The players performed brilliantly last time out against Preston and they've earned the right to test themselves against Premier League opposition.

RamsFanzine: In Lawrence and Waghorn you have two players who've played for Leicester before. What does this match mean to them?

Stuniverse: They've both had a smile on their face and a spring in their step. It's going to be a special night for them and, hopefully, Tom can show them what they've missed out on. Waggy too if the game unfolds in a way that he gets to play. I hope the Leicester fans give them both a good reception as they're both hard-working, genuine lads.

Post-match: Leicester City (2) 2-4 (3) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Congratulations. You must be delighted. Not just with the win, but with the way your team played.

Stuniverse: Yes. The players responded to the challenge of playing a very good Premier League side and I think we outplayed them at times and thoroughly deserved the victory. Kasper Schmeichel in their goal was certainly busier than Scott Carson in ours. There were just over 4,500 Derby fans in the King Power Stadium tonight and it's a fantastic feeling knowing we performed for them and sent them home happy.

RamsFanzine: Your ex-Leicester players must've enjoyed that.

Stuniverse: Absolutely. Tom Lawrence and Martyn Waghorn are bouncing off the walls. I thought Tom was sensational tonight. He was the best player on the pitch, in my opinion, and scored two tremendous goals. Then Waggy came off the bench and scored our fourth goal, giving us breathing space with a two goal lead as the clock ran down. It was good to see Mason Mount get himself off the mark for the season too.

RamsFanzine: You were able to introduce youngsters Sibley and Bennett towards the end. Was that a sign of how in control of the game you were?

Stuniverse: Whenever I name youngsters on the bench I hope the match unravels in such a way that allows me to give them playing time and tonight worked out that way. Louie Sibley has been a revelation in training with the senior squad and he thoroughly deserves this opportunity. People tend to forget how young Mason Bennett is given he made his Rams debut at the age of 15. He's been out for a while with injury and this was a good opportunity to start building his match fitness.

RamsFanzine: Who would you like in the next round?

Stuniverse: Anybody at home. We've travelled to Blackpool and Leicester so it's about time somebody came to Pride Park.

RamsFanzine: Congratulations, again. Well done.

Stuniverse: Thank you.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 30 August 2018

Carabao Cup - Rams face Stags in the 3rd Round

RamsFanzine report that Derby County have been drawn at home to League Two Mansfield Town in the 3rd Round of the Carabao Cup. The tie will be played at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday 25 September 2018.

Mansfield Town currently top League Two and reached this round by knocking out Carlisle United on penalties and Bradford City 1-0.

Derby County sit 4th in the Championship and have knocked out Blackpool on penalties and Leicester City 4-2.

CC3_Mansfield_draw.thumb.png.5bf86a8d9502394768e8c57e29420512.png

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Friday 31 August 2018 - 23:05

Loan Transfer Window Closes

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The loan transfer window closed at 11.00 pm this evening and, as Derby County manager Stuniverse told RamsFanzine it would be, it was a quiet deadline day at Pride Park with no players joining or leaving the club.

Stuniverse also told RamsFanzine that he was happy with his squad which, to be fair, he has every right to be with the Rams sitting 4th in the Championship table and having just knocked Premier League Leicester City out of the Carabao Cup. Derby County's inconsistent home form must be a concern to the manager though.

It's not known whether Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac shares Stuniverse's confidence in the current squad, or whether the parameters weren't right on potential deals, or the finances at the club wouldn't allow the flexibility required to make moves this transfer window. Stuniverse's predecessor, Frank Lampard, did make a large number of changes to the playing squad, both in and out, before he moved to Chelsea [pre-save].

Things may become clearer when the January transfer window opens. Until then, though, the Derby County manager knows exactly what squad he has to work with until 1 January 2019, and he'll be hoping the Rams can find more consistent form to consolidate their place in the playoff places and even push on towards the top two.

Derby County Transfers:

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Derby County Responsibilities

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 1 September 2018

Harry Wilson wins two awards

Liverpool player Harry Wilson, currently on loan with Derby County, has won the Championship Player of the Month award for August, with his Rams teammate Jack Marriott coming third. Wilson made five appearances in August, scoring four goals, with an average rating of 8.04; Marriott made five appearances, scoring five goals, with an average rating of 7.74.

Wilson also won the Championship Young Player of the Month award for August, ahead of his Rams teammate Fikayo Tomori (on loan from Chelsea) in second. Tomori made five appearances in August, scoring two goals, with an average rating of 7.60.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 1 September 2018

Max Lowe wins award

Derby County player Max Lowe, currently on loan with Aberdeen, has won the Scottish Premier League Young Player of the Month award for August. Lowe made two appearances in August, scoring one goal, with an average rating of 8.25.

Left-back Lowe is highly regarded at Derby County but with Ashley Cole, Craig Forsyth and Scott Malone for competition, former Rams manager Frank Lampard allowed Aberdeen to loan Lowe until the end of the season. Lowe is under contract to Derby County until 30 June 2021.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 1 September 2018

Derby County - Board Confidence, Dynamics and Monthly Finances for August 2018

Board Confidence

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Dynamics

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Monthly Finances

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 1 September 2018

Pre-match v Hull City (a) - Championship (6)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Your striker Martin is on loan at Hull City. Is it a bonus that he can't play against you today?

Stuniverse: I'm not sure. Chris Martin hasn't played a competitive match for them yet. He did play three matches for Hull in pre-season, scoring three goals with an average rating of 7.67 so it's somewhat of a surprise that they haven't given him any playing time yet.

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RamsFanzine: How are the injuries looking?

Stuniverse: Max Bird is back in full training, but Craig Forsyth, Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount are looking a bit jaded though. Tom Huddlestone (groin) and Henrich Ravas (knee) are back training with us, but not quite ready. Curtis Davies (hamstring) and George Evans (knee) will be a while yet and Marcus Olsson (ACL) is out long-term.

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Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've made three changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes. It was a huge effort for the players on Wednesday night against Leicester and I felt Craig Forsyth, Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount could do with a rest so Scott Malone, Andre Wisdom and Andy King come in for them.

RamsFanzine: And Ambrose is on the bench.

Stuniverse: Yes. With Andre starting at right-back today, Efe Ambrose's ability to play both centre-back and right-back was the main factor in that decision as he provides good cover for us across the bench.

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

Stuniverse: Again I thought we played very well having far more possession and creating more chances than Hull, but we need to be more clinical in front of goal. We put too many efforts wide of goal and, when we did get them on target, we didn't work their goalkeeper [David Marshall] enough, too many were straight at him. It took a wonder Harry Wilson strike from outside the penalty area to give us the lead. We always needed a second goal to give us breathing space and, though I can't fault the effort of the players, we were unable to score a second. Hull's equaliser, when it came, was a sensational free-kick from Jordy de Wijs. When a strike's that good there's nothing you can do about it except, maybe, don't concede the free-kick in the first place.

RamsFanzine: You've lost your 100% away record.

Stuniverse: We're still unbeaten away from home though. If you'd told me before the season started that we'd win two and draw one of our first three away matches I'd have taken it. I'm very happy with our away form, t's our home form we need to improve. 

RamsFanzine: Another game without Marriott getting on the scoresheet.

Stuniverse: Jack Marriott started the season on fire scoring five goals in our first three matches but the relentless nature of the Championship is catching up with him a bit at the moment and he needs to adapt to that. Just before I took him off, he was clean through with just the goalkeeper to beat but he didn't look confident whereas a few weeks ago Jack would've buried it in the back of the net.

RamsFanzine: Does he need a rest?

Stuniverse: He's going to get a rest any way because we've got an international break coming up now. We've got eight of the first team squad away on international duty so we'll have to work with the players still here and, when those who are away come back, we'll need to plan and prepare for the Rotherham match.

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Derby County players on international duty

Wales: Andy King, Harry Wilson, Tom Lawrence.

Nigeria: Semi Ajayi.

England U21: Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount.

Slovakia U21: Henrich Ravas.

England U19: Jayden Bogle.

 

Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 5 September 2018

Loan report

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Thank you to everybody who's following or viewing my Derby County - Director of Football challenge. I really appreciate it.

I've been playing FM (and CM before that) for many, many years but I've never done a Director of Football challenge before. I've also never done a Career Update on here before.

I would welcome any comments and feedback you may have - either on here or by PM.

Thank you.

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Game date: 14 September 2018

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac has rewarded first-year scholar Louie Sibley with a two-year professional contract.

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 15 September 2018

Pre-match v Rotherham United (a) - Championship (7)

Match Preview

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Stuniverse: The international break has allowed us time to get most of our walking wounded back into contention for selection so I'm very pleased with that. Marcus Olsson (ACL) remains long-term, but everbody except our captain Curtis Davies (hamstring) and George Evans (knee) are back in full training and available for selection.

RamsFanzine: Ajeyi returns to face his old team.

Stuniverse: Yes, it'll be a great day for Semi Ajayi after making his international debut for Nigeria during the break. Assuming the match allows me to give him playing time I hope the Rotherham fans give him a good reception as he was a good servant for them making 52 league appearances and scoring five goals.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Just the one change today, Bryson drops out and isn't in the 18 at all. Is he injured?

Stuniverse: No, Craig Bryson is fit to play, he's just been unlucky as will happen now we have most players fit. I can only start 11 and only pick another seven on the bench. Some players will miss out when, perhaps, they don't deserve it.

RamsFanzine: Talk us through your thinking.

Stuniverse: Mason Mount looked a bit jaded ahead of the Hull match so I left him out but he's looking sharp again and deserves his recall. I then had to look at who to play alongside him and in a tough call I went with Andy King over Brys. The bench then was a different story. We have Tom Huddlestone fit again and we need to get him match fit. Louie Sibley has really impressed in training and in an U18 match in midweek and I wanted to reward him. With Hudds and Louie on the bench, there was no room for a third midfielder, unfortunately for Brys.

Post-match: Rotherham United (1) 2-4 (1) Derby County

Stuniverse: I thought we were full value for the win today but we made hard work of it at times. I thought Harry Wilson was sensational scoring our first two goals, his and our second another spectacular free-kick. But I was disappointed we let them back into it twice. The penalty, well Andre Wisdom should know better than to shove his opponent like that, even though that sort of thing goes on in every set-piece in every match in this country, and you rarely seen them given.

RamsFanzine: Waghorn made a difference when he came on. Did he do enough to start over Marriott against Blackburn? 

Stuniverse: Martyn Waghorn came on for Marriott after about an hour and took both his goals brilliantly, the first after great work by Harry [Wilson]. Marriott started the season on fire but is finding it harder to score at the moment. Waggy has certainly given me something to think about. It was nice to give Hudds some time on the pitch and I was delighted the match allowed me to reward Louie with some playing time.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Tuesday 18 September 2018

Pre-match v Blackburn Rovers (H) - Championship (8)

Match Preview

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Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You don't normally make many changes in the league so four changes today is a bit of a surprise?

Stuniverse: Three of the changes I consider sensible precautions, although not exactly forced through injury. After being away on international duty and then putting in a massive shift against Rotherham, Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were all looking a bit jaded in training so I've selected Martyn Waghorn, Louie Sibley and Semi Ajayi for them. Andre Wisdom didn't have the best of games against Rotherham so Jayden Bogle comes in for him.

Post-match: Derby County (1) 2-1 (1) Blackburn Rovers

Stuniverse: It was good to get another home win, that's two on the spin now, although Blackburn did make it difficult for us as you expect in the Championship. It was disappointing to fall behind, particularly as I thought we were playing the better football at that stage and had already had one effort headed off the line. But the lads showed a lot of character to come back and win the match.

Tom Lawrence was instrumental in that, he really stepped up with Harry Wilson and Mason Mount on the bench and he drove us forward. Tom thoroughly deserved his goal right on halftime and was unlucky not to score a second when his shot cannoned back off the post but, fortunately, Jack Marriott was there to slot home the rebound. I was delighted for Jack as he's been in a bit of a slump after racing to five goals this season; he's worked hard in training and his sixth goal of the season will be a real boost.

RamsFanzine: You're now second in the Championship. Congratulations. Can you go on and win automatic promotion?

Stuniverse: Thank you. We've only played eight league matches so it's far too early to be thinking of that although, obviously, we want to win as many matches and gain as many points as we can. Ask me again when there's eight matches to go.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 22 September 2018

Pre-match v Brentford (H) - Championship (9)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You're second in the Championship and entertain Brentford who are third. You're only a point ahead of Brentford so do you consider this a six pointer?

Stuniverse: Well it promises to be a good match with Brentford, like ourselves, playing very well at the moment. Obviously you want to be winning the matches against the teams around you in the league table so it's an important match from that perspective, but far too early to be talking about six pointers or must wins.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Four changes again, reverting back to the team that started against Rotherham United.

Stuniverse: That's more a coincidence than anything else as I didn't deliberately think let's go with the team that beat Rotherham again. The lads that have been left out today all played well against Blackburn but Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have all been outstanding for us so far this season and I said all along that they were only being rested against Blackburn.

RamsFanzine: What about at right-back?

Stuniverse: Andre Wisdom comes back. Already Jayden Bogle has played a lot more minutes than we expected at this stage of the season and he looked a little tired in training. He's done nothing wrong but, at 18 years of old, we still need to wrap him in cotton wool somewhat.

Post-match: Derby County (3) 4-2 (2) Brentford

Stuniverse: Wow! That was probably a great spectacle for the neutrals but the first-half was incredibly nervy, talk about end to end. Jack Marriott hit the side netting in the first minute and then they went down the other end and Scott Carson made a great save. The first-half continued in the same vein but, fortunately, we were able to tighten up a bit after the break, though they still hit the post and Scott had to make a couple more fine saves.

RamsFanzine: Marriott was back to his best today.

Stuniverse: Yes, Jack would have scored a hat-trick on another day. I thought he was superb and it shows mental strength to hold your nerve and convert two penalties in the same match. Harry Wilson got us off to a great start with a cracking finish after a superb through ball from Mason Mount. Andy King's shot was probably going wide, before the wicked deflection, but we'll take it.

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RamsFanzine: That's five unbeaten now.

Stuniverse: The lads are playing very well at the moment. They're working extremely hard on the training ground and getting their reward right now when it really matters.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Tuesday 25 September 2018

Pre-match v Mansfield Town (H) - Carabao Cup, Round 3

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: You've got a home tie against League Two Mansfield Town. You must fancy your chances of progressing?

Stuniverse: I think it'll be a tough game against the Stags but, yes, we're confident of making it through if we play as we know we can.

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RamsFanzine: Were you tempted to give Davies or Evans a game tonight?

Stuniverse: Our captain Curtis Davies only returned to training this week and he's been out a long time. He could, possibly, have given us 45 minutes if we'd needed but it's more likely we'll look to get him match fit in the U23s. George Evans isn't back yet, but may return to training next week.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've changed the entire team tonight. Isn't that disrespecting Mansfield Town and the competition?

Stuniverse: No, I don't think so. I've picked a team I believe is capable of winning tonight. Every player picked tonight is part of our first team squad and we'll need them all this season. The lads that played last time out have played three hard Championship matches in eight days so today was a good opportunity to give the rest of the squad some playing time.

24092019_bryson_concerns.thumb.png.dd874bd998038209005650110739c45b.png

RamsFanzine: Is everything ok between you and Bryson?

Stuniverse: Of course, it is, I get on well with all the players. Brys is disappointed he hasn't been playing recently, but he understands that the players selected ahead of him are in great form and he'll need to be patient.

Post-match: Derby County (3) 4-0 (0) Mansfield Town

Stuniverse: I'm very proud of the lads tonight. Although I had confidence in the match-day 18, I was aware that many of them hadn't had much playing time so to see them put in such an impressive, cohesive performance was very pleasing.

RamsFanzine: You couldn't have dreamed of a better start, surely?

Stuniverse: That's true. To be 2-0 up in less than 10 minutes, and 3-0 up by half-time, really killed the game off. Louie Sibley got us off the mark with a 25-yarder that swerved and curled and went in off the post. It was a special moment for Louie and one he richly deserves. Efe Ambrose showed why he's a strong player in both penalty areas as he headed our second. Martyn Waghorn scored a tap-in just before half-time and Mason Bennett deserved his goal for all his hard work.

RamsFanzine: Bogle and Forsyth picked up yellow cards and we believe they'll be suspended for the 4th round.

Stuniverse: Yes. That's correct. It presents an opportunity for someone else.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 29 September 2018

Carabao Cup 4th Round - last sixteen

24092018_CC_Rd4_draw.thumb.png.6ad9d6ec03e64986b4f32ff94afbe9ce.png

RamsFanzine: Derby County have been drawn at home to struggling Premier League side Cardiff City in the 4th Round of the Carabao Cup. Having already knocked out one Premier League side, Leicester City, away from home in the 2nd Round, Derby County must fancy their chances at home. The Rams are currently in second place in the Championship, whilst the Bluebirds are 17th in the Premier League.

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24092018_PL_table.thumb.png.902cf91461926f603a689447f8cb8e43.png

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 29 September 2018

Pre-match v Bolton Wanderers (a) - Championship (10)

Match Preview

10_a_Bolton_preview.thumb.png.d90bae70c5bec8b285afc55a8967deba.png

RamsFanzine: Aston Villa won 3-2 at Bristol City last night to go above you into 2nd. Does that put extra pressure on you to win at 5th placed Bolton Wanderers this afternoon?

Stuniverse: That's what we'll be attempting to do, for sure, but Bolton are 5th for a reason so it won't be an easy game.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: 11 changes today, going back to your league team?

Stuniverse: I wouldn't say I have a league team and a Cup team as I always select a competitive team and squad with the aim of winning the match. The side that starts today have done well so far this season and, having rested them for the Mansfield cup-tie, they come back rested and raring to go today.

Post-match: Bolton Wanderers (0) 0-3 (0) Derby County

Stuniverse: Although I always felt we were good value for the win today, with time running out and the match goalless it looked odds-on a nil-nil draw. We're absolutely thrilled to have ended up winning it 3-0 through a great strike from outside the 'D' by Bradley Johnson plus two tidy finishes inside the penalty area from Harry Wilson and Martyn Waghorn.

RamsFanzine: Late on you sent on Huddlestone, pushed Mount further forward, and changed from a 4-1-2-3 to a 4-2-3-1. Not long after that Johnson gave you the lead and you went on to win 3-0. That was some masterstroke, wouldn't you say?

Stuniverse: Honestly, you flatter me. As managers we make substitutions every match. Some work, some don't, and some have no influence on the match whatsoever. I have to give my players all the praise for keeping going to the very end and having the belief to keep pushing for a goal and not settling for what would've been a good away point. But of course, it feels good when a late substitution changes the match to that extent.

RamsFanzine: You responded well to Villa winning last night and, briefly, went top of the Championship, only to slip back to 2nd when Leeds won 3-1 at Sheffield Wednesday.

Stuniverse: There's still a very long way to go this season. We've just got to continue to work hard and focus on winning as many points as we can.

10_a_Bolton_report.thumb.png.ecf524955d958e418dfc8c252528be81.png

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Wednesday 3 October 2018

Pre-match v Norwich City (H) - Championship (11)

RamsFanzine: Congratulations on winning the Championship Manager of the Month Award for September.

Stuniverse: Thank you.

RamFanzine: With Leeds drawing 1-1 at Hull last night, a win tonight would put you top of the Championship on goal difference. You must be hoping the Manager of the Month curse doesn't strike?

Stuniverse: I don't believe in that curse business. Look, all the plaudits should go to my players, not me, as they're the ones who've scored the goals and won the points. Tonight we'll be doing everything we can to win the match as we always do.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've named an unchanged team today.

Stuniverse: Yes. The lads played very well last time out against Bolton and deserve to go again.

Post-match: Derby County (0) 3-3 (1) Norwich City

Stuniverse: Well we got out of jail today. I said to Daniel Farke after the match that we were fortunate to get the draw. To be 3-0 down after just over an hour, you don't really expect to get anything out of the match, but this team don't know when they're beat. To be fair, I thought Norwich were the better team for 60-65 minutes, but they weren't three goals better than us, they just scored two screamers.

Jack Marriott pulled a goal back for us and that gave us belief. Mason Mount scored a long-range effort and then Jack drew us level with a penalty six minutes into added on time.

RamsFanzine: You really went for it, didn't you, changing 4-1-2-3 to 4-2-3-1 and then finishing 4-1-3-2?

Stuniverse: We had to. Norwich City are a very good team, with very good players, and we had to gamble and go for it. Fortunately it worked out for us. Even at 3-3, both teams had one more chance to win it.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 6 October 2018

Pre-match v Q.P.R. (a) - Championship (12)

Match Preview

12_a_qpr_preview.thumb.png.4a29a75a257cfa48912cd9d2230091d5.png

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: You've made five changes today - Waghorn for Wilson, Sibley for Mount, Forsyth for Malone, Bogle for Wisdom and Ajayi for Tomori. Is that because you weren't happy with the performance against Norwich last time out?

Stuniverse: Not entirely. It's more due to us playing two matches in four days and looking to keep the team fresh and sharp.

RamsFanzine: Were Davies and Evans in contention?

Stuniverse: Curtis Davies and George Evans are both back in full training, and are working on their match fitness in U23 matches, but they're both some way short of being ready to play in the Championship. Maybe after the next international break.

Post-match: Q.P.R. (1) 2-0 (0) Derby County

Stuniverse: Today was one of those matches. Overall I thought it was quite an even match. They probably had more chances, whereas we tested their goalkeeper more but, unfortunately, we didn't work Joe Lumley enough and weren't clinical enough. The penalty Semi Ajayi conceded late on was soft and, after they went 2-up, there was no way back. 

RamsFanzine: Do you think you made too many changes?

Stuniverse: Possibly, but it's more that we had too many players who didn't really affect things out there

RamsFanzine: That ends your seven match unbeaten run. How disappointing was it to lose?

Stuniverse: Obviously we're all a bit down after that, but we need to take confidence from the unbeaten run and work hard in training and try and put another run together after the international break.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 15 September 2018

RamsFanzine: Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac has appointed former Peterborough United youth physio Claire Houston as U18s Physio on a contract until 30/06/2020.

151018_claire_houston.thumb.png.da9e67b1af3f8fec2bf4f28aee17d1dd.png

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 20 October 2018

Pre-match v Sheffield United (H) - Championship (13)

Match Preview

13_H_sheffutd_preview.thumb.png.6fa8be097ee14919bc2ed3c7847a0e1c.png

RamsFanzine: You've had to wait 14 days since losing to Q.P.R. last time out. How has that been?

Stuniverse: Well we've managed to work with the players who stayed here giving them some rest and working on certain things that didn't go so well against Q.P.R. Our captain Curtis Davies is now available for selection so that's a bonus, as is George Evans. In fact, the only injury now is long-term absentee Marcus Olsson (ACL). We've had to assess the players who went out on international duty and most of them are ready to go.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: It must be good to have almost a fully fit squad available to you for the first time. You've made four changes?

Stuniverse: Yes. Harry Wilson comes back in for Tom Lawrence. Mason Mount replaces Louie Sibley. Fikayo Tomori returns for Semi Ajayi. Jayden Bogle looked a bit jaded on his return from international duty so Andre Wisdom plays at right-back.

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

Stuniverse: That was more like it. I thought we looked comfortable throughout and controlled the match for long periods. Martyn Waghorn got us off the mark before two strikes from Jack Marriott after the break wrapped up the points.

RamsFanzine: It was nice to see your captain back out there again, wasn't it?

Stuniverse: Yes. Curtis Davies has been out all season with a hamstring injury so it was great to get him back on the pitch today.

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13_H_sheffutd_analysis.thumb.png.1c6b1c3b3861590842e3878669bfc78d.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Wednesday 4 October 2018

Pre-match v West Bromwich Albion (a) - Championship (14)

Match Preview

Ch14_a_wba_preview.thumb.png.49e40ba93801d1d678dec260e72f4732.png

RamsFanzine: Is there any truth in the rumour that Bryson has handed in a transfer request?

Stuniverse: Yes. Brys came to see me with concerns about his playing time. I understand his concerns but Brys has a lot of competition in central midfield and I can't offer him the playing time he's looking for. He's a model professional, and has been a wonderful servant to this club, but it's probably time for him to move on for the good of his career. I've spoken to our Director of Football and hopefully Igor will look to find a move for Brys in the January transfer window.

Team Selection

Ch14_a_wba_selection.thumb.png.e235fc1cb4b52a788008569d5766fe8b.png

RamsFanzine: You've made two changes to the line-up today - Huddlestone in for Mount and Bogle in for Wisdom.

Stuniverse: Yes. Mason Mount was looking a little jaded so we'll push Bradley Johnson a bit further forward and bring Tom Huddlestone into the holding role. Jayden Bogle has been looking sharper in training these last couple of days so he comes in for Andre Wisdom.

RamsFanzine: Will we see your captain back in the starting line-up soon?

Stuniverse: It would be great to see Curtis Davies starting again, but Richard Keogh and Fikayo Tomori have formed a successful partnership in central defence so the skipper will have to be patient and wait for his opportunity.

We did have some bad news this week with Louie Sibley suffering a lower back stress fracture which could keep him out of action for 6-7 weeks.

23102018_sibley_injury.thumb.png.f8f58e4c70c0497b9de729f9a5742d30.png

Post-match: West Bromwich Albion (3) 5-5 (2) Derby County

Stuniverse: That match was just insane. 5-5. Totally insane. We brought over 3,000 Rams fans to The Hawthorns today. They can't say they didn't get their money's worth. I hope we sent them home entertained and happy, even though we didn't get the win for them.

RamsFanzine: You were 3-0 down again today. Surely you can't keep coming back from 3-0 down to salvage points?

Stuniverse: The character in this squad is tremendous  - a goal from Bradley Johnson and four from Jack Marriott rescued us today - but you're right, we can't keep giving ourselves a mountain to climb.

RamsFanzine: In 14 matches you've scored 39 goals, at least 10 more than any other team in the Championship, and you've conceded 24, only Millwall with 27 have let in more. You're certainly the Championship entertainers with more goals being scored in your matches than any other team's. But do you think your playing style is too open? Will you have to tighten up at the back? 

Stuniverse: We need to find the right balance between attack and defence, that's for sure. I'm happy with the number of chances we're creating and goals were scoring, but I'd like to be keeping more clean sheets. It's something we'll need to work at on the training ground.

Ch14_a_wba_jack_marriott.thumb.png.cbed15748f521e4e98df06458447d050.png

RamsFanzine: 16 goals in 16 appearances for Marriott. Your patience with him during his goal drought earlier in the season seems to be paying dividends now.

Stuniverse: Yes, I always had faith in Jack's ability to turn it around, his four goals today were sensational and his form over the last few matches has been outstanding.

Ch14_a_wba_report.thumb.png.f0e201f8e91339f8465b2198807bac6e.png

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Ch14_a_wba_analysis.thumb.png.b35ae745886a8796f924e9ebead47d7e.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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A fantastic idea and this is something I always wanted to try but I did not want to give up playing certain features of the game. Will certainly be following this. Good luck mate :D

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15 hours ago, DavidBeckham said:

A fantastic idea and this is something I always wanted to try but I did not want to give up playing certain features of the game. Will certainly be following this. Good luck mate :D

Thanks @DavidBeckham I hope you’re enjoying it. I am.

I’m expecting Igor to be more active in the January transfer window and then even more so in the Summer 2019 window when a lot of Derby senior players are out of contract. That’s if I’m still in a job as my contract expires 30/06/2019.

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8 hours ago, JaytheGreat said:

@Stuniverse Very interesting save, hopefully there's a lot of success in Derby's future. 

Thank you @JaytheGreat. That's very kind of you to say. I hope for success too as my contract only runs until the end of the season.

So far going well but I'm worried about the number of goals we're conceding.

Also my Head Physio Robin Sadler keeps advising me to rest youngsters Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount.

I'm very interested to see what Igor Stimac does in the January transfer window.

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 27 October 2018

Pre-match v Middlesbrough (a) - Championship (15)

Match Preview

Ch15_a_middlesbrough_preview.thumb.png.237b5395b0c032287bc51ef922ae767c.png

RamsFanzine: You're 3rd in the Championship and visit 4th placed Middlesbrough today. With only a single point between you this is a big match, isn't it?

Stuniverse: Of course, if you look at the league table it's an important game in that respect, but with so many matches left to play it's not season defining. That said, we'll be going out to try and win the match as we always do.

Team Selection

Ch15_a_middlesbrough_selectionpng.thumb.png.f40eb61384fe95dcede06358c5bb00ce.png

RamsFanzine: Five changes today - Mount for Huddlestone, Lawrence for Wilson, Davies for Tomori, Malone for Forsyth and Wisdom for Bogle.

Stuniverse: We had a tough run out at West Brom last time out and the team selection today is more about using the squad to keep things fresh, as the last match took a lot out of the players.

Post-match: Middlesbrough (0) 0-4 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Congratulations on an emphatic victory.

Stuniverse: Thank you. I thought we controlled the game throughout and always looked the most likely team to score, even before they were reduced to 10 men. Andy King and Mason Mount combined well in central midfield for two virtually identical goals. King with the assist each time with a square pass, Mount dribbling forward into space and hitting his shot from just outside the D. Mason Bennett originally came on for Martyn Waghorn, and then I pushed him up front when I brought Harry Wilson on for Jack Marriott; Bennett thoroughly deserved his two goals.

Ch15_a_middlesbrough_waghorn_inj.thumb.png.b849ad3eed096d59258b77323107f326.png

RamsFanzine: What's the news on Waghorn?

Stuniverse: Waggy's pulled ligaments in his knee and will be out for around three weeks.

RamsFanzine: You went with the same 4-1-2-3 formation but it looked like your tactics were a little more restrained today.

Stuniverse: That's very astute of you, but yes you're correct. We've gone 'Attacking' all season but against West Brom we let in five and we've generally conceded too many goals this season, so I told the lads to take it down a notch to 'Positive'. It was great to see our captain Curtis Davies back today and I thought the back four played very well, considering I'd made three changes across the back four.

Ch15_a_middlesbrough_report.thumb.png.f73eaa6d8ab282e3144f3f3691510ac8.png

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Ch15_a_middlesbrough_analysis.thumb.png.2254c625447b1b995c46d7478a46ecdc.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Tuesday 30 October 201

Pre-match v Cardiff City (H) - Carabao Cup, Round 4

Match Preview

CC4_H_Cardiff_preview.thumb.png.449d9d650783143af17dd548f0dde98d.png

RamsFanzine: Tonight you're at home to Premier League Cardiff City in the Carabao Cup. If you win, you're into the Quarter-Finals. How are you feeling?

Stuniverse: We're having a good cup run and we're thoroughly enjoying it. The fans are loving it. I know the cup-run has helped with the comaraderie and motivation of the squad and we'll be doing everything we can tonight. Our aim is to progress to the Quarter-Finals but Cardiff are a very good side and have climbed out of the relegation zone into 15th place, after beating West Ham and drawing with Southampton.  It will be a difficult challenge for us, but one we're looking forward to. 

Team Selection

CC4_H_Cardiff_selection.thumb.png.0dbe85368cbb32ed91125e08c892cea3.png

RamsFanzine: Three changes today. Wilson for Waghorn, Huddlestone for Mount and Ajayi for Keogh. 

Stuniverse: Yes. Martyn Waghorn picked up a knee injury against Middlesbrough so that one was forced. Mason Mount, like Jayden Bogle, is in need of a rest. Richard Keogh has been fantastic for us but I thought I'd give him a rest too so that Semi Ajayi could get another match under his belt. Louie Sibley is still out with a back problem, which is disappointing because this is the type of match he'd have been in the 18-man squad for otherwise.

RamsFanzine: Bogle and Forsyth are suspended for tonight.

Stuniverse: Yes. Jayden would probably have been rested any way but Craig Forsyth would've been in contention. Scott Malone plays at left-back as we gave Ashley Cole U23 playing time last night so he's not available tonight.

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

Stuniverse: It's very disappointing to lose that match tonight especially as I thought we more than held our own against a good Premier League side. We created more chances than Cardiff did but our quality wasn't good enough as we had to wait until the 88th minute for our first effort on target when David Nugent's header tested their goalkeeper. We have to do better, get more efforts on target, and test the goalkeeper more. That was the difference today, Cardiff were more clinical in front of goal than us.

RamsFanzine: Malone made a mistake for the first goal and never really recovered from that. We've heard the two of you had an argument after the match. Is that true?

Stuniverse: As a squad we discussed the match briefly in the dressing room and we'll go through it in more detail tomorrow as we always do win, lose or draw. I always praise payers who do well and offer constructive criticism to those players who didn't do as well. Again, nothing new there. I pointed out to Scott Malone where I thought he could've done better and he disagreed with me. In fact, he thought he'd had an excellent game.

RamsFanzine: Wilson went off after abut half an hour, how's his injury?

Stuniverse: Harry took a whack and bruised his ankle. He was finding it painful so we took him off as a precaution. Harry should be back in training in a couple of days.

CC4_H_Cardiff_report.thumb.png.bcb016ee039b9d3e9561274e1d49e8ff.png

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 3 November 2018

Pre-match v Birmingham City (H) - Championship (16)

Match Preview

Ch16_H_Birmingham_preview.thumb.png.15096e0118507f28d240a918a516b4d2.png

RamsFanzine: There was some good news for Marriott and Mount this week, wasn't there?

Stuniverse: Yes, indeed. Jack Marriott won the Championship Player of the Month award and Mason Mount won the Young Player of the Month award. Jack and Mason both thoroughly deserve that accolade.

Team Selection

Ch16_H_Birmingham_selection.thumb.png.284d1dd1f93d109b5d5747a122ac949a.png

RamsFanzine: How are the injuries looking?

Stuniverse: Harry Wilson (ankle) is still a few days away. Martyn Waghorn (knee) and Louie Sibley (back) will both be out a while. Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount are being rested and Marcus Olsson (ACL) is out long-term.

RamsFanzine: Three changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes, Mason Bennett comes in for Harry due to his injury. Richard Keogh was rested for the last match and returns instead of Semi Ajayi. Scott Malone didn't have the best of matches against Cardiff so Craig Forsyth gets the shirt today.

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

Stuniverse: That was a very satisfying win for us. The players managed the game well, controlled the play, a goal in each half and a clean sheet was almost the perfect match. Tom Lawrence took his goal well in the first-half and Duane Holmes and Florian Jozefzoon combined well for a lovely counter-attack goal to seal it late on. Florian's had to be patient and wait for his chance so it was a great moment for him to seal the win for us. 

RamsFanzine: After dropping Malone after his bad performance against Cardiff, what did you make of his replacement's performance today?

Stuniverse: I think you're reading too much into the team selection but, yes, Craig Forsyth had a very good match. I'm fortunate to have three very good left-backs at this level and all three of them [Forsyth, Malone, Ashley Cole] know I'm going to be rotating there to keep things fresh.

Ch16_H_Birmingham_report.thumb.png.a62178790ea070e173efcf34bf4fe8ed.png

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Ch16_H_Birmingham_analysis.thumb.png.df66a46b1924a9c541e664963ec92953.png

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 10 November 2018

Pre-match v Aston Villa (H) - Championship (17)

Match Preview

Ch17_H_Villa_preview.thumb.png.be123dbbe92e90d8e9bd0acf4e675aad.png

RamsFanzine: Aston Villa are 4th in the Championship, two places and three points behind you. A win would open up a nice gap between you and a promotional rival.

Stuniverse: It would, and we will be doing everything we can to win the match, but our task has been made a lot harder this week.

09112018.thumb.png.e19d0694be5ea8cef5910a2b0f3f7bf0.png

DERBY COUNTY FACING INJURY CRISIS!

RamsFanzine: Yes, your medical department have been very busy this week.

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Stuniverse: David Nugent twisted his ankle in an U23 match. Scott Carson twisted his ankle in training. George Evans bruised his ankle in training. Martyn Waghorn (knee) and Louie Sibley (back) are still some way off and Marcus Olsson (ACL) is out long-term.

Harry Wilson (ankle), Mason Mount (jaded) and Jayden Bogle (jaded) could be in contention, but the Villa match might be a day or two too soon for them.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 10 November 2018

Pre-match v Aston Villa (H) - Championship (17)

Team Selection

RamsFanzine: As if your injury crisis wasn't bad enough, you also have two players suspended today.

Stuniverse: Yes. Bradley Johnson and Tom Lawrence both picked up their 5th yellow cards of the season against Birmingham and will miss today's match.

Ch17_H_Villa_selection.thumb.png.8f45148d2d518cb4ef60a56cf0459fe1.png

RamsFanzine: Despite all that, you've only made three changes to your starting 11.

Stuniverse: Yes. Kelle Roos replaces Scott Carson in goal. Max Bird and Florian Jozefzoon come in for the suspended Bradley Johnson and Tom Lawrence.

 

Post-match: Derby County (1) 2-2 (0) Aston Villa

Stuniverse: I'm delighted to have come away with a point from that one because it was a very frustrating match and we couldn't find any rhythm with all the setbacks. I thought we were the better side in the first half and deserved to be ahead through Jack Marriott's strike. 

We lost Florian Jozefzoon to an injury after 35 minutes and I sent on Harry Wilson even though he hadn't been fit enough to start. Then we lost Wilson to injury in added on time just before the break. Duane Holmes came on for Wilson but those two injuries really disrupted us and we were still adjusting when Richard Keogh conceded a penalty almost immediately after the restart.

At 2-1 down we had to chase the game and, with our bench being unbalanced due to all our injuries, I had to throw Scott Malone on as a left winger. We got our just reward though when Mason Bennett's shot was parried by their goalkeeper and Marriott rolled in the rebound. After the match, Dean Smith [Villa manager] admitted we deserved our equaliser.

RamsFanzine: What's the news on Jozefzoon and Wilson?

Stuniverse: Florian's twisted his ankle and we think Harry's pulled a thigh muscle. Fortunately, though, we're about to go into another international break which gives the medical team some time to hopefully get some of our walking wounded fit again.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 24 November 2018

Pre-match v Sheffield Wednesday (a) - Championship (18)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Last time out you drew with Villa and dropped down to 3rd place. A win at Hillsbrough would see you move back into the automatic promotion places should Swansea fail to beat Norwich. With Sheffield Wednesday third bottom you must be confident, surely?

Stuniverse: Sheffield Wednesday are on a poor run of form but they always have a vociferous support behind them. I have confidence in my squad, but it won't be an easy match at Hillsbrough.

RamsFanzine: Has the two week break allowed you to get any walking wounded back?

Stuniverse: Well, yes and no. Bradley Johnson and Tom Lawrence are back from suspension, and Martyn Waghorn (knee), Mason Mount (jaded) and Jayden Bogle (jaded) are available for selection, but we'll be without Harry Wilson (thigh), Efe Ambrose (hamstring), George Evans (ankle), Florian Jozefzoon (ankle), Scott Carson (ankle), David Nugent (ankle), Louie Sibley (back) and Marcus Olsson (ACL).

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Bogle comes in from the cold today as one of three changes you've made.

Stuniverse: Well I wouldn't say in from the cold. Jayden Bogle is only 18 and we need to be careful with him. He was looking jaded so I've rested him for a couple of games, but he's back today which was a tough decision because Andre Wisdom has been playing well.

Mason Mount was also rested and returns in place of Max Bird. Tom Lawrence comes back after suspension due to the injuries to Harry Wilson and Florian Jozefzoon.

Post-match: Sheffield Wednesday (0) 0-1 (0) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Well you had to wait for a dramatic late winner but congratulations on the win and moving back into second place with Swansea losing to Norwich.

Stuniverse: Thank you. Sheffield Wednesday made it difficult for us, as we knew they would, and were unlucky not to score when they rattled the crossbar in the first-half. The Owls are a much better team than their league position suggests which, unfortunately, is probably what cost Steve Bruce his job today.

RamsFanzine: It's not often Marriott scores with his head either.

Stuniverse: No [laughs]. Martyn Waghorn put in a lovely cross and Jack Marriott met it sweetly to head home the 92nd minute winner. That's one of the many things I like about this squad of players is that they keep going all the way to the final whistle. They never give up. And today they got their reward.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: Wednesday 28 November 2018

Pre-match v Stoke City (a) - Championship (19)

Match Preview

Ch19_a_Stoke_preview.thumb.png.05aa6b71a9dea52c95fe9a3f1c55f96e.png

RamsFanzine: We're hearing Anya has put in a transfer request. Is there any truth in that?

Stuniverse: Yes. It's a similar situation to Craig Bryson's really. Ikechi Anya wasn't happy with his lack of first team football and asked me to give him some playing time. Unfortunately for Ikechi there's a number of players ahead of him and I told him I couldn't see him getting into the squad without a major injury crisis. We agreed to put him on the transfer list and wait to see if Igor can sort out a transfer in January.

RamsFanzine: How are the injuries looking?

Stuniverse: Things are looking better on that front as we only have a few players unavailable now - Florian Jozefzoon (ankle), David Nugent (ankle), Louie Sibley (back) and Marcus Olsson (ACL).

Team Selection

Ch19_a_Stoke_selection.thumb.png.29d9a14b8dd0920395bd1777be37dfda.png

RamsFanzine: Three changes today.

Stuniverse: Yes. It's just a case of utilising the squad really and freshening things up. Harry Wilson returns for Mason Bennett. Bradley Johnson for Mason Mount, and Fikayo Tomori for Jayden Bogle.

RamsFanzine: Carson's back on the bench, does that mean Roos is now your number 1?

Stuniverse: Kelle Roos has done well while Scott Carson's been out. I've put Scott on the bench because he could play if we needed him to but I don't see any reason to take any risks at this stage of the season.  

Post-match: Stoke City (1) 1-1 (1) Derby County

RamsFanzine: Can you believe you didn't win that match?

Stuniverse: If I'm being honest, no I can't. Tom Lawrence gave us the lead, only for Ryan Woods to equalise with a wonder strike. We also hit the post and the crossbar. We were dominant in all areas tonight, we had far more possession, far more attempts on goal, far more efforts on target, and we threw everything at them in the last 20 minutes. But it just wasn't to be. We had over 5,000 fans here and I'm sorry we didn't get the win we deserved for them.

RamsFanzine: Leeds United beat Reading 3-0 and now have a six point lead at the top. You remain 2nd but only on goal difference after Swansea's 4-2 victory over West Brom. That's going to be some match on Saturday when 3rd place Swansea come to Pride Park, isn't it? 

Stuniverse: Yes, it's a match we're really looking forward to. It will be a big test for us, but one I know we'll relish and do everything we can to win.

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 1 December 2018

Derby County extend manager Stuniverse's contract

RamsFanzine understand that Derby County have extended Stuniverse's contract as Rams manager to 30 June 2021.

Derby County owner Mel Morris said he was delighted that Stuniverse had committed himself to the club until the summer of 2021.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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1 hour ago, Bedese said:

Really enjoying this so far! Hope we beat you tomorrow, mind ;) 

Thank you, @Bedese, much appreciated. Good luck for the rest of the season (apart from your visit to Pride Park tomorrow ;)).

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 1 December 2018

Pre-match v Swansea City (H) - Championship (20)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Congratulations on your new contract. How does it feel?

Stuniverse: It's a wonderful feeling. When we started here in the summer I knew I had to prove myself as I only had a one year contract whilst Igor Stimac, Aljosa Asanovic, Mart Poom and Stefano Eranio are all on three year contracts. Now my contract has been extended to 2021 as well. I'm loving it here and to have the chance to carry on working here, continuing what we've started until 2021 is a dream come true.

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RamsFanzine: It's second against third today with both you and Swansea on the same points. With Leeds losing 2-1 against Sheffield United last night, you can put yourselves in a great position with a win over the Swans.

Stuniverse: That's very true and we're confident of getting a result today.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Carson's back today as one of four changes.

Stuniverse: Yes. Kelle Roos has done well, but Scott Carson is my number one at the moment and he's looked sharp in training. The other changes are about keeping the squad fresh. Mason Mount for Tom Huddlestone, Craig Bryson for Andy King, and Jayden Bogle for Fikayo Tomori. 

Post-match: Derby County (2) 2-0 (0) Swansea City

Stuniverse: That was a real pressure game for us and I'm delighted we came though it, put in a brilliant performance, and won the match. Jack Marriott will take the plaudits, deservedly so with his two goals, but I thought Tom Lawrence was outstanding.

RamsFanzine: That's 21 league goals for Marriott.

Stuniverse: Yes. 21 goals in 20 appearances and he's the Championship's leading goalscorer by some distance. Jack works extremely hard in training and I'm thrilled he's doing so well. He's scoring goals for fun right now and long may that continue.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: 3 December 2018

COLE SET FOR MOVE TO SOUTH KOREA

RamsFanzine understand that Ashley Cole is on the verge of signing for Ulsan Hyundai in the South Korean K League 1. Described as 'the best left-back of his generation' by former Rams manager Frank Lampard, Cole has been unable to force his way into Stuniverse's plans this season with Craig Forsyth and Scott Malone both getting plenty of playing time at left-back ahead of him.

Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac has been working behind the scenes to find a new home for Cole and three serious bids were received from Ulsan Hyundai, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Lech Poznan. The transfer to Ulsan Hyundai will go through on 2 January 2019 for a nominal fee.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 3 December 2018

DERBY HOST ARSENAL IN FA CUP

RamsFanzine: Derby County have been drawn at home against Arsenal in the 3rd Round of the F.A. Cup. The tie will take place on Saturday 5 January 2019.

Arsenal are currently 2nd in the Premier League, whilst Derby County sit 2nd in the Championship.

03122019_FAC_3rd_draw_Arsenal.thumb.png.e5907c43a8209caef1bcb74ca7ebb9f9.png 

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@Stuniverse Great season so far, even during an injury crisis! That FA Cup draw is about as tough as it can get but maybe you can work some magic. COYR

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JaytheGreat said:

@Stuniverse Great season so far, even during an injury crisis! That FA Cup draw is about as tough as it can get but maybe you can work some magic. COYR

Thank you @JaytheGreat, yes it’s going very well so far. Media Prediction at the start of the save was 7th and Mel Morris’s expectation is ‘top half’ so exceeding expectations so far. It was nice to have my contract extended this early in the season.

My main issue is Head Physio Robin Sadler tells me Mason Mount and Jayden Bogle need a rest virtually every time they play - I recently rested them both for two weeks and then as soon as I play them again Robin has fitness concerns for both again.

Igor Stimac seems to be preparing himself for January already with the done deal for Ashley Cole. I have no idea what will happen in January - there’s a few players I’ll advise Igor I’d like off the books but there’s no guarantee he’ll do that. I’m also worried he’ll decide to cash in on 21-goal Jack Marriott and I really don’t want to lose Jack.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 8 December 2018

Pre-match v Wigan Athletic (a) - Championship (21)

Match Preview

Ch20_a_Wigan_preview.thumb.png.8ba6d9ddd26b7bb729975933f3f672c6.png

RamsFanzine: Leeds United are three points ahead of you with a worse goal difference. If they slip up at home to QPR today, and you win at Wigan, you could be top tonight?

Stuniverse: We could be, yes, but we've not even reached the halfway point of the season. If we spend the rest of the season speculating on the outcome of every single match we'll drive ourselves insane. We've just got to focus on what we do, work hard on the training ground and do our best to translate that onto the pitch on match day.

RamsFanzine: Swansea are three points behind you in 3rd and are away at Brentford today.

Stuniverse: Like I said, we're focussed on what we do. Maybe when there's six matches to go, if we're still in the promotion hunt which we absolutely intend to be, then maybe we'll start to concern ourselves with the minutia of every fixture then.

RamsFanzine: How are the injuries looking?

Stuniverse: No change really in that respect. Scott Carson's fitness is improving all the time, as is Martyn Waghorn's. Florian Jozefzoon (ankle), David Nugent (ankle) and Louie Sibley (back) are still unavailable. Marcus Olsson (ACL) is out long-term.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: King back in for Bryson is your only change.

Stuniverse: Yes. We rested Andy King against Swansea, although he did get a cameo at the end. Andy's improved his fitness in training and starts today. 

Post-match: Wigan Athletic (0) 0-2 (2) Derby County

Stuniverse: We were some way off our best today but to get a win when we weren't playing well, particularly when we played most of the second-half with ten men, I've got to be satisfied with the result. Although we'll need to work hard on the training ground ahead of the Nottingham Forest match next week.

I thought we started sluggish and without Scott Carson in goal we would've been one or two down early. Harry Wlson's goal, on the counter-attack, calmed us down and Jack Marriott seized on a mistake by them to give us a two goal cushion. That gave us something to hold onto once Bradley Johnson got his second yellow card. Wigan put us under pressure from then on without really threatening Scott's goal. It was pleasing, and a credit to the players, that most of the last 10 minutes was played in their half.

RamsFanzine: Given the lack of discipline that led to Johnson's sending-off, will he be back in your plans after his suspension?

Stuniverse: Look, to a certain extent that one's on me. I sent Bradley out as a ball-winning midfielder and any player playing that way is likely to pick up a yellow card. Bradley knew to ease off after that but he's a combatitive player and it's difficult not to foul at all in the hurlyburly of a congested midfield. The second yellow was extremely harsh. Two players jump for a header, I didn't even see a foul, and it's somehow a yellow card?

RamsFanzine: Apparently the second one was for persistent fouling.

Stuniverse: Yes, we heard that. It was still harsh. Ironically we were preparing to bring Tom Huddlestone on for Bradley when it happened.

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BBC Radio Manchester: You've used a staggering 26 players so far this season, the highest in the Sky Bet Championship; can you explain why that figure is so high?

Stuniverse: I'm a firm believer in regular rotation in order to help keep players fresh and able to handle the demands of a long season. You have to bear in mind as well that we've had more than our fair share of injuries this season and I also try and give youth players a chance whenever I can. We have a squad of players for a reason and I like to keep as many of them as match fit as possible because you never know when they'll be needed.

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RamsFanzine: With Leeds losing at home to QPR, you've gone top of the league on goal difference. Congratulations. And you know who'll be determined to knock you off top spot next match, don't you?

Stuniverse: Thank you. But I'd rather be top after 46 games than 21. I believe Nottingham Forest visit Pride Park on Saturday so that's going to be an exciting and important match for this club.

We had over 4,000 fans travel to Wigan today and it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when I hear them singing, "We're Derby County, we're top of the league!" 

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Game date: 14 December 2018

DERBY COUNTY v NOTTINGHAM FOREST build-up

Derby County favourites ahead of the East Midlands Derby

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Rams legend Paulo Wanchope recalls local rivalry

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Ex-Rams player Chris Powell warns Derby County about Hilal Soudani threat

Ch22_pre3_Forest_Powell.thumb.png.27d200c1b90f5c140582b4729ead7354.png

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On 27/01/2019 at 11:23, Stuniverse said:

When the FM19 Winter Update comes out I’m in two minds what to do with this save

Option 2

Let Frank Lampard take charge of Ipswich Town (he was reported as being interviewed by Ipswich prior to being interviewed for Derby), returning Nathan Jones to Luton (was it?), and take the high profile loan signings of Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, plus Ashley Cole to Ipswich Town with him. All other signings Lampard made remain as Derby players.

Just caught up with this, very interesting read.

Firstly, we don't want Nathan Jones back, thanks. We're doing quite nicely without him! Secondly, this all seems to be going rather smoothly so far, though I'm sure it'll be a far bigger test next summer. In the DoF challenge, I've always found it frustrating that the DoF can't physically transfer/loan list players themselves. I think that would make it far more realistic & stop 100 youngsters rotting in the reserves (if you don't intervene) long term.

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, coady said:

Just caught up with this, very interesting read.

Firstly, we don't want Nathan Jones back, thanks. We're doing quite nicely without him! Secondly, this all seems to be going rather smoothly so far, though I'm sure it'll be a far bigger test next summer. In the DoF challenge, I've always found it frustrating that the DoF can't physically transfer/loan list players themselves. I think that would make it far more realistic & stop 100 youngsters rotting in the reserves (if you don't intervene) long term.

Thank you, @coady. Luton Town are flying in real-life. Good luck for the rest of the season.

I can't complain about how the save is going so far, but I'm conscious that in real-life Derby are usually well placed at Christmas and then fall away in the new year. It'll be interesting to see what Igor Stimac does in the January transfer window although financially he's going to be quite restricted (unless he sells prized assets to generate transfer funds) until the summer when quite a lot of high earners are out of contract.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 15 December 2018

Pre-match v Nottingham Forest (H) - Championship (22). Kick-off 17.30

Match Preview

Ch22_pre_Forest_preview.thumb.png.79fde351a9638149695e1c2327af2cf1.png

RamsFanzine: This is your first experience of the East Midlands derby as a manager. How are you finding it?

Stuniverse: I know all about this fixture and how important it is for the fans. As a lifelong Rams fan myself, I've been at the Baseball Ground and Pride Park for these matches and watched many at the City Ground too. But as the manager, it's different, the passion to grab the bragging rights is very much there still, but I need to put a lid on that to a certain extent and go about preparing the staff and the team in a professional way. It's my job to give the squad the best opportunity to win this match as I possibly can, but once they cross that line it's all down to the players. We've trained hard, prepared well, and I'm confident we can get the result for our fans.

RamsFanzine: Nottingham Forest are struggling in the relegation zone and sacked their manager Martin O'Neill at the beginning of the month. Does the fact that they're currently without a manager give you the advantage?

Stuniverse: I wouldn't say that. The Forest players and staff will know all about the rivalry and will be looking to win this match the same as we are. Gary Brazil is no stranger to being Forest caretaker manager and I'm sure he'll have prepared his team well.

RamsFanzine: Any injury news?

Stuniverse: We've almost got a clean bill of health with Marcus Olsson (ACL) our only current injury. Florian Jozefzoon (ankle) and Louie Sibley (back) have only just returned to training so this one, and it's intensity, is too soon for them.

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RamsFanzine: After this afternoon's results you're guaranteed second spot whatever the result this evening but, with Leeds winning 1-0 at Bolton, you need to beat Forest if you're to regain top spot.

Stuniverse: I'd rather be in our position than Forest's, that's for sure, after this afternoon's results dropped them to the bottom of the league. But that will make them a wounded and dangerous animal as they'll be wanting to lift themselves out of the basement and a win would take them out of the relegation zone.

Ch22_pre_Forest_lge_table_bottom.png.4e2b7cc66b7c38c7af373e650c14a00a.png

RamsFanzine: Good luck.

Stuniverse: Thank you.

Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 15 December 2018

Pre-match v Nottingham Forest (H) - Championship (22)

Team Selection

Ch22_H_Forest_selection.thumb.png.9b5f2c784888164f172a70ca60b64892.png

RamsFanzine: You've made two changes today, one of which was forced due to Johnson's suspension.

Stuniverse: Yes. Bradley Johnson received two yellow cards against Wigan and is suspended today. Tom Huddlestone comes in. Andre Wisdom starts at right-back; he's been chomping at the bit in training. Jayden Bogle didn't have the best of times against Wigan so I've decided to leave him out for this one.

Post-match: Derby County (1) 3-0 (0) Nottingham Forest

Stuniverse: I'm absolutely thrilled with the victory tonight. And I'm delighted for the supporters. There were almost 33,000 fans inside Pride Park tonight and the atmosphere was electric. To hear them chanting "We're Derby County, we're top of the league!" as we defeated our local rivals was an amazing feeling and one I'll always treasure and remember.

RamsFanzine: What did you make of Wilson's performance tonight?

Stuniverse: I thought Harry was sensational tonight. He gave us the lead after just nine minutes when he cut in from the right and hit a thunderous shot from distance that flew past their goalkeeper. Harry clinched the victory three minutes into added on time at the end when he coolly volleyed Mason Mount's free-kick home. On another day, Harry would've had a hat-trick as he went close with two direct free-kicks.

RamsFanzine: Would you say 3-0 was a fair result?

Stuniverse: The record books will say that the result was 3-0 but, no, I understand what you mean and I'd say the scoreline maybe flattered us a bit, but we deserved to win the match and maybe 2-0 would've been a fairer score. But I don't really care. We scored three through Harry's brace and a great strike by Martyn Waghorn and they didn't score any, though they did rattle the post at 1-0.

RamsFanzine: You don't usually substitute defenders yet you took Keogh off with about 15 minutes to go. We've heard Keogh wasn't too happy about that.

Stuniverse: Richard had a good game and I only took him off because he was on a yellow card and, in the closing minutes of the match, I wanted to make sure we kept 11 players on the pitch. We saw against Wigan, with Bradley Johnson, how precarious it can be when you're on a yellow card. Fikayo Tomori was needing some playing time and it made sense to bring him on.

Richard's in his seventh season here and he knows as well as anybody how important these matches against Forest are and how much they mean to our fans. Of course Richard didn't want to come off, but he understands the decision. Richard's a magnificent servant for this club, he's been outstanding so far this season, and is a brilliant leader both on and off the pitch.

RamsFanzine: Congratulations on going back to the top of the Championship by winning the Brian Clough Trophy match.

Stuniverse: Thank you. The players put in a real shift tonight and thoroughly deserved the victory, but this was all for our supporters who were magnificent today. They can enjoy their weekend and go back to work with their heads held high and a broad smile on their faces.

Ch22_H_Forest_report.thumb.png.65f34b7bd2183692f12f69d887c09d7d.png

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Game date: Saturday 22 December 2018

Pre-match v Bristol City (H) - Championship (23)

Match Preview

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RamsFanzine: Whatever happens today, you're guaranteed to be in an automatic promotion place at the halfway point of the season. Given the pre-season media expectations were for Derby to finish 7th, just outside the playoff places, how do you reflect on the season so far?

Stuniverse: Well the time for serious reflection is at the end of the season but I'd be ecstatic if we can finish the season in an automatic promotion place. So yes, win, lose or draw today I'm delighted with the way the season's gone so far but there's still a long way to go yet so we won't be getting ahead of ourselves.

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RamsFanzine: Swansea City in 3rd are seven points behind you. Your opponents today, Bristol City, are 5th, eight points behind you. A win would put you in a commanding position in the Championship.

Stuniverse: It would and a win would provide a great Christmas present for our fans. But Bristol City are 5th for a reason. They're a good team and I'm sure they will look to make it difficult for us today. We'll need to play well to get anything out of this match.

Team Selection

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RamsFanzine: Waghorn comes in for Lawrence today and your captain isn't in the 18-man squad at all. Why's that?

Stuniverse: Simple really. Curtis Davies bruised a shin in training yesterday and, whilst he probably could've played at a push, I didn't see any reason to risk making it worse. Fikayo Tomori comes in. Fikayo and Richard Keogh combined very well earlier in the season so I have no concerns there. I thought about naming Curtis on the bench, but he could be needed after a minute so decided to go with Semi Ajayi as the centre-back option on the bench.

Tom Lawrence was below par against Forest and Martyn Waghorn came off the bench to score against them. I thought Waggy had done enough to earn a start today and Tom, perhaps a little harshly maybe, makes way.

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

Stuniverse: I'm pleased with the win, but didn't think we were at our best today. We looked a bit nervous and weren't on the front foot as much as I'd like. That said, Bristol City worked very hard and made it difficult for us.

RamsFanzine: Wilson did it again, and that's five goals in the last three matches. What are you feeding him?

Stuniverse: [Laughs]. Yeah, Harry scored another brace for us. He got us off to a flying start with a great run into the box and finish in the second minute. We thought Jack Marriott had won it for us late on but it was ruled out for offside, a decision I'm not convinced the officials got right. Then Harry stepped up two minutes later with a calm finish to make it 2-0.

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Football365: Derby rank amongst the league leaders in fouls and cards awarded, but it seems to be an approach which is working. How much of your success is due to this style of play?

Stuniverse: We're not a dirty team and we don't set our stall out to foul the opposition, but I do want my players to work hard when we haven't got the ball, get in their opponents faces, and win the ball back. I think you'll find we're amongst the league leaders for successful tackles too.

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FourFourTwo: You've got one of the best attacking records in the league. What do you attribute that to?

Stuniverse: We're the leading goal scorers in the Championship with 58 and in Jack Marriott with 22, and Harry Wilson with 14, we also have the top two goal scorers in the Championship. Partly it's down to having some fantastic players in my squad but first and foremost it's about hard work on the training ground.

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RamsFanzine: Aston Villa beat Leeds United 3-1 leaving you clear at the top of the Championship at the halfway stage, three points clear of Leeds in 2nd and seven points clear of Swansea City in 3rd.

Stuniverse: We've had a great first half of the season, and the players deserve so much credit for that, but we have to work even harder for the rest of the season to make sure we build on this and don't throw this opportunity away.

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Edited by Stuniverse

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Posted (edited)

Well I didn't see this coming...

Game date: 23 December 2018

IGOR STIMAC LINKED WITH NORWICH CITY MANAGER VACANCY

Sky Sports News understand that the Norwich City board have shortlisted Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa, Derby County Director of Football Igor Stimac, and Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce as the men they want to  interview to replace Daniel Farke as manager. 

Bookmaker odds:

  • 5-1 Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds United)
  • 6-1 Igor Stimac (Derby County)
  • 8-1 Sam Allardyce (Crystal Palace)

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Edited by Stuniverse

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