Derby Fans Pinching Themselves Over Arrival Of Rooney

Ahead of the visit of Championship side Derby County in the third round of the FA Cup, TEB had a chat with Owen Bradley from RamsTV to find out about their season so far, thoughts on the tie and much more.

Q. How has the season been for Derby so far?

The season certainly hasn’t hit the heights of recent years. It’s been pretty frustrating, not least for the manager. But Phillip Cocu has handled himself magnificently given the off-the-field issues he’s had to deal with. In truth I’m not sure anyone expected a challenge for automatic promotion and while plenty hoped the Rams would be closer to the top six, I think it’s a bigger job than people realised. Hopefully there will be more to shout about in the second half of the campaign.

Q. How have fans taken to Philip Cocu since he arrived at the club?

Pretty well for the most part, though quite a few have turned their anger towards the manager in the last few weeks. I think some supporters are missing the charisma of Frank Lampard and ‘The Bounce’ but I’m not in that number – they’re just very different personalities. Like I say, I think he’s been exactly what the club needed through the controversy of the autumn. He’s here for the long haul and I think the fans that aren’t already on-side will get there before long.

Q. What do fans think about the arrival of Wayne Rooney? What do you think he can offer?

They’re buzzing, of course! Until we actually see him out there (I’m writing before his probable debut v Barnsley.) I’m not sure we’ll believe it’s real! We’ve heard plenty about what he can offer already – from what I’m told he’s making his voice heard in the dressing room and on the training pitch and the players have all talked about being in awe of his ability. I’ve not doubt that will translate to his performances.

Q. Will Derby be very active in the January transfer window? What are the needs?

I don’t think they will do too much, to be honest. They need some bodies to help cope with a bit of an injury crisis, and we might see a couple of loans-with-a-view-to-a-permanent, but I don’t think they will throw money around. For one they’re not in the automatic race but more importantly they don’t want to block the path for young players coming through.

Q. How seriously do you think Derby will be taking the FA Cup this season?

That’s an interesting one. It’ll be Phillip Cocu’s first involvement in the FA Cup, and he used the EFL Cup at the start of the season to blood the youngsters and get everyone in the squad minutes on the pitch. Given the number of players out at the moment, he won’t have the flexibility to change much. But I’ve no doubt he will take it seriously – he won cups as a player and manager in Holland, after all. 

Q. One to watch for Derby this season?

If he plays, Louie Sibley. He’s 18, and has been tearing it up for the academy sides in recent years. The most fun part of my job has been covering the under-18s & under-23s, and he’s been a star for them. He’s a powerful, skilful attacking midfielder who plays with an edge, and a shock of blonde hair that means you won’t miss him if he’s out there! The other candidate would be Jason Knight, another youngster who scored twice the other night against Charlton.

Q. If you could pick one Palace player to sign, who would it be and why?

Wilfried Zaha, because he’s fantastic. He’d help solve Derby’s biggest problem this season, which is scoring goals. I think only Wigan have scored less in the Championship so far. Derby haven’t had nearly enough of a contribution from their wide players. 

Q. Which Derby player do Palace need to keep an eye on in the game?

Wayne Rooney, probably!

Q. Perhaps you could share your views on what you expect from Palace this season?

I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for Palace since I started working alongside Marc Edworthy for RamsTV a couple of seasons ago, so it’s been good to see them doing well this season. I’m not sure they will sustain the European challenge but it’d be great to see them finish top-half. 

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  1. You can’t win if you can’t score. Even when behind, Roy still plays for a draw. The problem is not totally with a lack of player depth but the inability to coach an offense. Player skill development is almost negligible. Zaha has natural ability but there is no one to coach him to be better. Palace needs to bring in an offensive mind like Roy Keane to act as a foil to the “defense only” mentality.

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