Hello readers; my name is Sam Dryden and this is my first blog entry. I’m now in my third season with Derby after joining them from Nottingham Forest three years ago.
My family home is actually in Nottingham and I’d been with Forest for 6 years when they let me go as a 13-year-old for ‘a lack of physical qualities’ that they felt I needed at the time. However I soon joined Derby and feel privileged to be here.
As one of the founder members of The Football League the club has a real sense of history and tradition as you’d expect. The philosophy here is to get the ball down and pass and be always be positive when in possession of the football – that ethos runs throughout the place.
With the recent departure of Nigel Clough, Steve McLaren has taken over as manager and brought in Paul Simpson and Eric Steele.
The trio have had a positive start with a narrow defeat at Queens Park Rangers the only loss in four matches. I must admit that many of the Academy players, including myself, were concerned when Nigel Clough left the club. Clough took a really big interest in the youth-team players and the Academy as a whole which I know isn’t the case at a lot of clubs. Some managers out there are only really interested in the first-team and that’s their prerogative. After all I suppose it’s the results of their first XI that determine if they are deemed a success or not but as a young player you always hope that the man in overall charge takes an interest in players coming through the Academy.
However, after a few weeks of working under the ex-England manager, the atmosphere in the Academy area at Moor Farm is definitely more relaxed. The youth-teams and first-team still seem to have a close working relationship and everyone has been impressed by the way the new gaffer has approached things – in a positive and friendly way around the place.
While a lot has been going on off the pitch we recently focused our attentions on the visit of Birmingham City -which was personally a pretty big game for me. It didn’t particularly hold any significance from the perspective that my Dad is a former Blues player, it was more that it was my first game back from injury. After 6 weeks out with tears to my right quadriceps I was just glad to be back and it was also a chance for the team to restore some confidence after back-to-back defeats against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.
We started brilliantly but were unable to get ahead and half-time seemed to inspire them more than us as they edged ahead 5 minutes after the break. However after Darren Wassall and Pat Lyons made a few changes we slowly regained our mojo and Andre Johnson headed home an equaliser. While we were unable to add to that with a winner it was pleasing that we showed plenty of resolve to fight our way back in to the back and put a real shift in.