OPINION: Derby County will be top six but Aston Villa squad strength may be a deciding factor

Derby County vs Nottingham Forest - Derby County manager Gary Rowett - Pic By James Williamson
Derby County vs Nottingham Forest - Derby County manager Gary Rowett - Pic By James Williamson

Derby slipped out of the automatic promotion places this weekend after struggling to a 1-1 draw with Norwich City.

Aston Villa jump ahead of us by one point after seeing of Birmingham City in the second city derby.

There’s been a mixed response to the weekend by the various warriors of the keyboard, but one thing is for sure and that’s with 15 games left, nothing has been decided yet.

Pre-season I predicted a top ten finish for us as I believed that Gary Rowett would need three transfer windows to elevate us into a top six side. I’m revising my prediction now to fourth place.

I think we are dead certs for top six, but the extra depth in the Aston Villa squad may just see them have a little more in reserve!

Whatever happens and no matter how the season pans out, take nothing away from the gaffer! He’s done a quite remarkable job so far.

I’m sure that with our defensive record, more teams are worried about playing us than the other way round.

Football has a habit of throwing up a surprise or two as well. Aston Villa have now won seven on the bounce, but don’t forget how many millions they have spent assembling that squad. In contrast Rowett has had very little cash to spend!

Those who think we are now in a downward spiral, write us off at your peril! We head to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night whilst Villa have an awkward looking fixture away at in form Fulham.

The twists and turns ahead will have many of us biting our fingernails, but that’s the nature of the Championship!

Gary Rowett has spoken of making a few changes and for me the ones to make are obvious.

I’d start with the full backs. In my opinion Chris Baird and Craig Forsyth are better than Andre Wisdom and Marcus Olsson.

In the holding roles I’d bring in Joe Ledley for George Thorne who is struggling to get back to his pre injury form.

I think that Tom Lawrence needs a rest. He was a big money transfer, but as of yet has failed to live up to expectations. Maybe Andreas Weimann deserves another shot!

Finally, I’d bring back David Nugent for Cameron Jerome. I think he links up better with Vydra.

Gary Rowett will be determined to return from Hillsborough with three points, let’s hope the lads can achieve it for him.