Ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Pride Park we spoke with Andy, a die hard Rams fan.
Considering Derby made the playoffs on the last day are you happy with Frank Lampard’s first season in charge?
Very happy. It’s always a gamble appointing rookie managers and Lampard has done well in what’s arguably the hardest division there is. He’s achieved what I suspect Gary Rowett thought that he couldn’t.
Stand out players and your Player of the Season?
Fikayo Tomori is my Player of the Season. He came as a relative unknown and has been outstanding all season. If he makes an error, he has the speed to correct it. He’s also passionate as well.
Standout players Jayden Bogle who’s been very impressive since being introduced and should we not go up, I think we will struggle to keep hold of him. Obviously Mount and Wilson have been brilliant but recently Martyn Waghorn too had been excellent.
Much was made of #spygate was it really that big of a deal when you think back to it?
It was a bit cheeky and I thought that you’d get a rap on the knuckles. I think the PowerPoint presentation was more annoying with Bielsa pulling Franks pants down in public.
Do you have a Manager of the Year and a Player of the Year?
Chris Wilder Manager of the year. He has a squad which is made up mainly of players that maybe wouldn’t have got into other championship teams.
Without meaning to be disrespectful you might say journeymen, but he has them playing as a team and it’s testament to his management that they have achieved automatic promotion.
Player of the season is difficult to select, but if you push me I’d say Billy Sharp. He’s been around a few years now, but he still knows where the onion bag is.
In your opinion is the Championship still the hardest league to get out of(We’ve been trying now for 15 years!)
Absolutely as teams are so evenly matched. We have found out that you cannot simply buy your way out and there’s a very fine line between challenging for top six and fighting off relegation. Millwall have been close to both over the last two seasons.
Were you surprised that considering Leeds were top at Christmas and topped the league for over 100 days that they fell short in the period since then?
Nothing surprises me in this division. I suspect the type of football that they play demands a very high level of fitness in comparison to a more direct style. I suspect that fatigue will catch up with them in the end, but they still nearly made top two. Should they not make it this season, 2/3 additions in the summer should get them over the line next season.
Who do you see as the player’s in the Leeds team as the biggest threat to your hopes of progressing to Wembley?
Roofe obviously for his goal threat and Hernandez who appears to be involved in most of their goals. If you can stop them it goes a very long way to stopping Leeds.
In the other Semi Final West Bromwich Albion face Aston Villa over two legs. Who do you think will win the tie?
My money is on Villa. I make them overall favourites to go all the way. When they visited us they had Adomah, Grealish and Kodjia playing behind Abraham. Now that is one scarey looking attack!
Was Derby v Leeds the tie you wanted or would you fancied your chances against anybody?
To be honest I wasn’t really bothered who we got. Leeds and spygate will spice things up a bit and when I was a young lad in the 70’s there was a bit of rivalry between the two clubs. I think the line up of both semi finals are attractive to the football fan.
Predictions: Score and Scorers?
Derby 2-1 Leeds Leeds 1-1 Derby
(that’s heart and wishful thinking included)
Last one. Have you enquired about accommodation or train travel to London before the playoffs have started?
No. If we make it I will travel to and from London in the car on the same day. Living in Lincoln it’ll be A1 rather than the M1 that most Rams fans will travel.
We’d like to thank Andy for his answers and wish him luck for what is going to be a nerve-wracking time for both sets of supporters.
By Keith Ingham