Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMcClaren in last chance saloon at familiar surroundings - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough McClaren in last chance saloon at familiar surroundings - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

McClaren in last chance saloon at familiar surroundings

It has been a turbulent couple of days at Pride Park – long standing manager Nigel Clough was surprisingly relieved of his duties following a defeat to arch rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday, before perhaps even more eyebrow raising Steve McClaren was handed the job just under 48 hours later.

To put it mildly McClaren certainly has a point to prove – having rebuilt at least a certain amount of credibility with success at FC Twente following his England nightmare, that was followed by a disappointing spell with Wolfsburg before what can only be summed up as a car crash time in charge of Forest. He then sought solace back at the happy hunting ground of Twente, yet even there he could not find success, lasting little over a year.

His mission with Derby will surely be to take them beyond the mid-table status they have become accustomed to in recent times. Many have voiced their frustration at the decision to remove Clough, highlighting that the ex-Burton man has year on year moved the clubs league position further on limited resources. Nevertheless it is hard to question that progress hasn’t been slow going, with several fans growing frustrated at the persistent one step forward, one step back that has plagued the club in recent times under Clough’s reign – the fact that this season The Rams seemed to have reversed their ability to win consistently at home yet struggle away proving a perfect example of this.

The sacking of Clough was always going to generate upset, considering the sentimental reasons involved whilst it is hard to argue the timing was bizarre – meaning McClaren is likely to need to win over a large number of supporters. Nonetheless it is clear that the owners feel Clough has taken the club as far as he can, the question is now whether the new man can go better.

McClaren will be aided in his task by a successful spell as first team coach with the coach, whereby he together with manager Jim Smith took Derby to their most successful period in decades. That said we are all well aware of just what an excellent coach he is, the question still remains over his managerial credentials. The appointment of ex-Ram Paul Simpson has been well received by fans – the hope will be that he has the right attributes to compliment the clear weaknesses of McClaren the manager.

Encouragingly McClaren should not be entering the division as cold as he did during his spell with Forest, having been on Harry Redknapp’s coaching staff since the start of the season. Unfortunately unlike at Forest and also at his only successful management spell in England with Middlesbrough, McClaren will have little to use in terms of financial resources – that is if he receives the same treatment as Clough.

Derby though do at least possess a squad which is not that far off being a finished article – there is plenty of exciting attacking talent there, however their undoing to often has been a lack of steal and a soft underbelly when things get tough. This clear weakness has persisted for a number of years now, with many of the more bullish Championship sides often overpowering the Rams – an issue McClaren will need to resolve if they are to take steps into genuine playoff contenders.

He must also learn from the errors of his short time at Forest and not look to change the clubs style instantly – many would argue it is more tweaking required rather than radical change. Undoubtedly the City Ground disaster reflects particularly badly on him, that said there were other factors involved in that failure most notably tinkering owners.

 Should McClaren fail once again it is difficult to see where he would go from here, particularly in terms of management. What is for certain is that he will be determined to rebuild his battered reputation and Derby, a club in which he knows so well should provide him with the perfect opportunity to do so.