Looking forward to 03/04 - 08/08/2003
On a personal note, itís not been the best of pre-seasons, although Iím now fit and raring to go. I had 90 minutes in the reserves against Eastwood Town, and not unexpectedly, I was a bit stiff. Iíve been having treatment on my back from the chiropractor and although itís a been a bit sore, Iím not faraway from first team selection against Stoke.
The pre-season has been very promising, the boys have played very well, and the victory against Mallorca was well deserved. OK, we also did well this time last year Ė and the season turned out to be very disappointing. All I can say is that the club has been through the mixer, weíve a now got a change of manager, thereís been plenty of player movement, the youngsters are now that little more experienced and the pressure isnít quite as intense as last season. When I talk about the pressure, donít get me wrong, we fully expect to be up there fighting for Premiership football Ė whether itís a top two finish or the play-offís. But last year other clubs raised their games when they played us, we were the big boys just down from the Premiership Ė and that mantle has been passed on to West Brom, West Ham, and Sunderland. To be fair, I donít think we handled the pressure very well, but weíre all learnt Ė and after 18 years in the game, I also learnt lessons form last season.!
Nevertheless, looking at the competition I feel that all three teams dropping down have a good chance, although West Ham have sold a massive amount of players and Sunderland will also find it tough. Sheffield United and Forest will also do well, Paul Hartís a very decent manager Ė great at nurturing young talent. Iíd also watch out for Cardiff, Iíve a feeling that Sam Hammanís team wonít be far away. I know the guy well, and theyíve strengthened since Mayís play-off victory against QPR. But we can be up there, and when we face Stoke on tomorrow it can be start of season that returns Derby to where we belong.
What is your opinion about this article?
Start a new topic at our forum!