1299: Championship Form Guide: Derby
by : Alex Wolstenholme
George Burley’s proposed new contract at Derby County is rich reward for the job he has done so far at Pride Park, turning the Rams into a side on the fringes of the play-offs with a team containing a mix of old lags, young prospects and overseas gambles that have paid off in spectacular fashion.
Derby are a side that have spent money in recent times and have spent it badly, both in the early Lionel Pickering era at the Baseball Ground and then in the latter days of the Jim Smith managerial period after they looked to have established themselves as Premiership regulars.
Like a number of sides to have dropped out of the top flight, Derby must have come close to the abyss but they are now an advert for the new financial reality in the game, bringing young players into their side and offering new arrivals short term deals with incentives to do well in the form of longer contracts.
Two such players are Marco Reich and Gregorz Rasiak. Reich arrived on a free transfer in January from Werder Bremen and the German winger has attracted the attention of Tottenham as well as Bundesliga clubs in his native Germany.
Reich signed an eighteen month deal when he signed with the option of a further year if he was doing well which he has exercised and is talking to Derby about at the moment.
Similarly, Polish striker Rasiak who has made an immediate impact since arriving early this season is on a one-year deal with Derby having the option to extend it by two years which they intend to do.
These types of deals are not always going to work out. The player may not settle or may do so well and have their heads filled with agent talk that they move on just as quickly but these two looked to have worked out well and Derby deserve credit for managing to bring in two players who look to be of Premiership quality.
Add to that the likes of Jeff Kenna and Ian Taylor, together with highly rated youngsters like goalkeepers Lee Camp and Lee Grant and defender Tom Huddlestone and the future looks bright.
Burley seems to be making the same sort of progress he made at Ipswich, slowly building a side that eventually made it into the Premiership and enjoyed that amazing season where they finished fifth and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
That sort of success is a long way off yet but Derby fans will settle for what they have seen so far this season after what they have gone through in the last few years.