Derby - the future is promising - 30/09/2003
I Think we have seen enough signs in the past month to suggest that the team is starting to turn the corner.
There are always comings and goings at football clubs but there does seem to be more stability around the place.
The manager has also changed the spine of the team by bringing in the likes of Michael Johnson, Ian Taylor and Matt Svensson. All are good, experienced players.
We went into today's big game against Nottingham Forest with two wins and a draw from the previous three matches and in a much better frame of mind.
The performance in our home defeat by West Bromwich Albion at the end of August was a key moment for me.
We did not deserve to lose that game against a side who will be one of the main challengers for promotion from Division One.
We drew confidence from that and victories over Walsall and Watford followed as well as a point against Sunderland last Saturday.
And what an incredible finish it was to the Sunderland game.
Maybe the script was written for Mart Poom, just as it was when Junior scored our winner against his old club, Walsall.
But you would expect a returning goalkeeper to hit the headlines by making saves and not scoring goals!
Poomy's goal was fantastic, a real Alan Shearer-type towering header. I've never seen anything like it before.
It couldn't have happened to a nicer fella.
Poomy is one of the most hard-working, dedicated professionals I have seen in the game. He often drove the kitman and groundsman mad at Derby because he would never go home from training.
We didn't do enough to win the game against Sunderland but when we went ahead in the 90th minute, we should have killed the game from there.
Sunderland showed that they will also be in the promotion shake up.
Mick McCarthy is the type of manager who will get them organised and get them going. He knows his football.
But the manager and the lads can be pleased with the progress we have made in recent games.
Players do have a responsibility to behave properly on the field.
Football is a physical contact sport. It can be extremely tense and passions often run high.
We have all probably done things on the pitch that we shouldn't have, but what we saw at the end of Manchester United's game against Arsenal was, in my book, out of order.
I can understand Arsenal's delight that United's late penalty miss had given them a point and their annoyance over Patrick Vieira's sending off.
Words are exchanged in those situations but the pushing and jostling is hard to defend.
You want your players to be competitive but you also want them to remain as level-headed as possible.
It is important to remember that youngsters are watching and an incident like that is not a good example for them.
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