OPINION: Derby County’s season is over and there are tough decisions ahead!

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Nigel Clough’s return to Derby saw Burton Albion go home with a draw and unbeaten against The Rams in their first two ever league meetings.

Burton put eleven men behind the ball and never looked like conceding from kick off to the final whistle. Yet again an opposition team manager did their homework and employed tactics that stop the 4-3-3 formation.

Derby’s seeming inability to switch formations was yet again their undoing.

What the result did was for many, confirm that realistically the season is over! I had written off the chances of play off football after the Cardiff loss.

There will be much work to be done over the summer. Mel Morris is likely to give Steve McClaren a full season to get us back in the promotion seeking category. What our manager needs to do is off load players who have no long term future with the club and strengthen the areas in which we are weak.

There’s quite a few players who’s futures must be under the microscope. Some of them simply because they cannot play their natural game in the formation that our gaffer utilises.

Matej Vydra is a quality striker, but he cannot play it alone. He might be effective alongside Martin in a 4-4-2, but unless McClaren changes his playbook that isn’t going to happen.

I would suggest their is a question mark over Ikechi Anya. He cost £4m, but in my opinion is no better than Johnny Russell. He struggled to get past Derby ‘reject’ Tom Naylor on Tuesday.

Abdoul Camara has speed and ball skill but does seem to be a little lightweight!

Jason Shackell will surely not want to be sat on the subs bench much longer, but it would be harsh to drop Alex Pearce.

Darren Bent might earn himself an extra year, but will he be happy playing the part of a backup to Chris Martin now that he has found his scoring boots again?

There’s many questions that need answering and McClaren may need to be brave when swinging the axe. A new approach and a different line of thinking may be required. Some tough decisions will have to be made!

It is quite possible that mid table is now where we will finish and although it’s disappointing having had our expectations raised in recent years, it’s light years away from the struggling outfit we were under Nigel Pearson.

We come up against Aston Villa and Blackburn next and although they are two struggling teams, we cannot take anything for granted. Recently it’s the strugglers that have been our downfall.

Aston Villa have flopped massively after spending big in the transfer marker under the management of Steve Bruce. They have spent amounts that make our own outlay look like loose change.

They will surely win again soon, let’s just hope it’s not against us.