How long have you supported Derby County?
I’ve been a Derby fan for as long as I can remember. My dad was a big Stoke fan but took me to watch the Rams at the Baseball Ground and I fell in love with them! I have had a season ticket for 22 years now, starting on the Popside at the Baseball Ground to now sitting in the South Stand at Pride Park.
What’s your favourite moment as a ‘Rams’ fan?
I’d love to say I was around during our glory days under Brian Clough but I’m not old enough! My favourite moment was probably in the 95-96 season beating Crystal Palace at home to secure promotion to the Premier League. Robin Van Der Laan scored a great header and the place went crazy! We then had a number of good seasons in the Premier League under Jim Smith!
Tell us about a player that you were proud to have on the back of a shirt, if you don’t is there one you wish you had?
This is a tough call! Igor Stimac was instrumental in our rise to the Premier League in the 90’s – he came in when we were around the foot of Division One and we got hammered at Tranmere on his debut, but something just clicked and we never looked back. He then went on to play for Croatia at the World Cup in 1998 so that was nice to see.
What’s your most memorable moment playing against Leeds?
I have many memories of games against Leeds, some good, some not so good. I remember in November 1997 we travelled to Elland Road and we were 3-0 up after half an hour. We ended up losing the game 4-3 – probably the most ‘Derby County result’ ever!
Are you happy with your dealings in this summer’s transfer market?
Yes! Massively impressed with our dealings so far. I think Mel Morris, our owner, deserves a lot of credit for backing Frank Lampard this summer. I have to say, it was not expected as we were told there would be no significant investment this summer so it’s been a nice surprise!
What’s your realistic aim for the season?
I think we have to be aiming for the playoffs as a minimum. We have been there or there abouts for a few years now. To be honest, it would just be nice to get to January and not lose every game until March which is a usual trend! We have a number of high earning, non first team, players who are out of contract this summer which should allow us to build on this current squad.
Who in your mind is going to be promoted this season?
Really tough call this year, especially with so many teams making good signings and strengthening their squads. I’m going to say… Middlesbrough, Leeds and Derby!
Can you name your three for relegation this year?
I think Rotherham will struggle, as will Bolton and Sheffield Wednesday.
Who’s your danger man?
Probably a bit early to call this now, especially with an overhaul of the squad. I think Mason Mount, the young lad on loan from Chelsea, will be one to watch. Got a feeling Tom Lawrence will have a good season this year.
Can you tell us about a rising star in the youth ranks?
Two players that have come through the ranks and seem to be featuring a bit under Lampard are Mason Bennett, a powerful winger/forward and Max Lowe, a quick left back. I probably should give a shout out to Max Bird in the U23’s as well, very highly though of and his mum is my boss!
Prediction and scorers for the game?
I think this will end 1-1 – I’ll say Bamford will score for Leeds because he’s ex-forest and was on loan at Derby a few years back so it’s written in the script that he will score. I think Tom Lawrence will get on for Derby!
By Keith Ingham