Derby County fan Andy Buckley-Taylor assesses the Rams' chances this weekend:
Second-placed Preston North End visit pride Park on Saturday looking for a victory that could send them top if West Bromwich fail to win.
Alex Neil’s men have got off to a good start this season and will prove to be tricky opponents for the Rams who are coming off that loss at our rivals across Brian Clough Way.
I don’t wish to dwell on that East Midlands Derby loss too much, but we have played worse than we did on the day and won in the past.
There’s much speculation now as to which players will be on Phillip Cocu’s list of wants when the January transfer window opens. Of course it’s all speculation but there are holes in the squad.
The goalkeeping department for me needs looking at, as well as the centre back positions. We all know that due to spends of the past our purse strings are much tighter and can only have one loan addition unless one of the current loanees returns to their parent club in January.
I actually think it’s time that some of our talented youngsters should be given some game time and there are three for me that should at least be considered for a spot on the bench.
Louie Sibley is an outstanding prospect. He was superb in the recent Under-23’s game against Leeds United which we won 7-1. He notched himself a hat-trrick in the game and the potential is evident for all to see. He plays in the number ten role and could be valuable competition for those currently selected for it. He is also a no nonsense tackler.
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson and Jamal Hector-Ingram have also impressed and must surely be knocking on the door of the first team squad. Jason Knight has had a little game time too and looked very good.
I’m not saying that all of these players should be thrown in at the deep end immediately., but a few minutes as a second half sub will enable them to gain that first team experience. I fully expect that Sibley, at least, will be a first team player sooner rather than later.
We have over the years loaned many young players from Premier League teams, but we have a glut of talent in our own junior ranks. We do have the reigning EPL Under-18 champions. That being the case, why not use them and rather than blood youngsters from other teams?