OPINION: Derby County production line begins to bear fruit

Lee Buchanan was the match-winner at Scunthorpe.
Lee Buchanan was the match-winner at Scunthorpe.

Rams fan Andy Buckley-Taylor assesses the last few days at Pride Park:

Derby made it two games unbeaten at the weekend with a 0-0 home draw against Swansea in a hard-fought game that produced very little to keep both goalkeepers active.

On Tuesday night, having made 11 changes to the starting line up, Philip Cocu saw his team make progress in the Carabao Cup at Scunthorpe.

Cocu used the match to give first team game time to several youngsters who have progressed through the ranks at the club.

Lee Buchanan making his debut provided the deciding goal in the latter stages of the game. He was one of seven players in the squad who graduated from the Academy.

The investment in the academy is finally seeming to pay dividends. It costs the club approximately £5m a season to fund our very own school of excellence and we now seem to have a glut of talent making progress.

Players such as Buchanan, Louie Sibley, Morgan Whittaker and Tyree Wilson are just a few that will be pushing for a regular place in the match day squad before long.

There’s nothing more satisfying to see a club produce home-grown talent and I for one was delighted to see young Buchanan become Tuesday night's hero.

Of course, not every scholar will make it to the first team, but those who don’t can still bring valuable income to the club if they are sold on.

I am sticking by my prediction though that Sibley will be the one to make the biggest impact this season.

On to Saturday, and it’s a short trip to Stoke who have failed to meet expectations so far since their relegation a couple of seasons ago.

Nathan Jones occupies the hot seat that was vacated when Gary Rowett was sacked after a disappointing run of results last season despite massive investment in the squad.

We went down 2-1 last time we visited the Bet365 Stadium. Hopefully the promising early performances shown by our defence can continue on Saturday and our attackers have their scoring boots on.