Seems to me Nigel Clough saw Nathan as a Paul Jewell man, and used him only twice, and then as a substitute. I had been impressed by him back in '02 when he helped Bristol Rovers knock the Rams out of the FA Cup with a hat-trick when we were in the Premier.
He signed for us in '08, a season loan from Watford, expecting a free transfer at the end, and scored a hat-trick for us against Lincoln in the Carling Cup a year ago. He scored away against Norwich to help us get the six points by October - home and away wins against the Canaries - which ultimately kept us up last season, and against Stoke in the Carling Cup quarter-finals, to put us into the semi-finals for the first time since the 60's. Thanks Nathan, but no thanks was Nigel's view. How does Big Sam see things? Differently?
"I like to try and resurrect somebody. This is a lad with a huge amount of talent and has a really good CV from his time particularly at Wigan. He's only 28 so whatever went wrong, if we can put things right we'll have a real player on our hands but he has to prove it in the few days he is with us."
Best of luck, Nathan.
For those readers who follow the Rams, there'll be a "39 years ago" walk down memory lane for both teams, then a link to the extended entry which is about the Rams mostly. I've chosen that season as the Sat'dy playing dates are the same. Blackburn start away to Watford in the old second division on August 15th 1970, the Rams away to Chelsea in the first division.
Derby had first played in the now-defunct Watney Mann Invitation Cup, beating Fulham 5-3 on August 1st after extra time, 3-3 after 90 minutes, then Sheffield United 1-0 on Wednesday 5th, and Man Utd in the final on Sat'dy 8th, winning 4-1 in front of 32,049 at the old Baseball Ground. Father of Clough had been in charge since '67.
Given Derby's lengthy injury list, I am wondering if they'll need to pick up a striker somehow.
Amazing that the Rams could have so many players hurt, and the season hasn't even started. A familiar refrain awaiting Derby this season? "What's this team doing down in the relegation discussions?" Thanks Stan.
Nigel, how's it looking for the season? "It's not going to be perfect right off and I don't think supporters expect that. But somebody at Derby in the next few years is going to get it right and the club are going to take off."
I know you prefer to downplay forecasts, but realistically, we're still short of players? "We want the team together for a longer period of time; we don't want massive changes now, we have made quite a few in the summer. If everything goes well on the pitch and they prove they are good enough to challenge in this league, we want the majority of the squad to be with us for some period of time. We want to see a predominantly young side grow together and improve together."
A season of consolidation? No chance of bringing in players later if we're in with a shout? "We've said all along, we're not going to make any wild predictions. We're not going to promise play-offs or anything. But with the strength of the squad we have got, we think we can compete against anybody. Ideally, if we can put our best side out week in, week out, then over the course of the season we will be as good as anybody in the league."
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