It’s been nearly 10 years since Derby last visited Villa Park, and you have to look to 10 years before that to find a Derby success at VP. But derbies are derbies – particularly against Derby! – and we, in our current spate of defeats and fall from grace, cannot assume that we just have to turn up at VP to see Villa win yet again against them. In fact, Derby haven’t had a bad season: at least they’re in the top half of the table.
One of Derby’s team will be our old friend Darren, of course, who I am sure will pose a threat and cause us to ask the question “How on earth did we pay so much for him and then let him go so easily?” In our current plight, he would surely have been an asset to retain. But the Villa’s books-based bosses thought better, and so here we are facing someone who knows well what it’s like to play at VP and will give our centre-backs a real test. Bent’s departure was all the more useless as his near-namesake and replacement – Benteke – threw in the towel and went elsewhere.
But the dire question is, how many strikers will Villa have available against Derby? That question is made more frustrating with Bent there on display. Well, that’s where we are: another reminder of 7 years of Villa mismanagement playing in front of us. Therefore how much more do we need a Villa that can get a rub of the green and score two freakish goals (a la Newcastle) to get us back on course!
One positive is that it looks as though Bree will be available for selection, and, with Taylor and Hutton doing pretty well at Newcastle, we suddenly seem to be well-blessed in the full-back department.
Then, three days later, we have Bristol City as visitors. The week-end after that we are at Rotherham. So – there we have it – three good opportunities to take away the threat of the sword of Damocles. And to take advantage of those matches by gaining at least 7 points will effectively remove further nervousness and let the team get itself together for next season’s challenge. However, if we get those points with so little strike-power available, then surely we will have done well.
I’m taking Andrew’s team to do the necessary:
Bree Chester Elphick Taylor
Lansbury Jedi Hourihan
Adomah Kodjia Green
With Samba to come on as the match-winning dynamo if we get into trouble!