DERBY COUNTY BLOG: ‘Gary Rowett got his tactics spot on against Fulham’

Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com;Football;SkyBet;Championship;Play Off Semi final'11/05/2018   KO 7.45pm; Pride Park;'Derby County v Fulham'copyright picture;Howard Roe;07973 739229;''Ram's Cameron Jerome celebrates his goal infront of the jubliant Derby fans
Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com;Football;SkyBet;Championship;Play Off Semi final'11/05/2018 KO 7.45pm; Pride Park;'Derby County v Fulham'copyright picture;Howard Roe;07973 739229;''Ram's Cameron Jerome celebrates his goal infront of the jubliant Derby fans

We are at the half time stage in the play-off semi-final with Fulham and the Rams go to Craven Cottage with a slender 1-0 lead!

This isn’t to downplay the achievement on Friday night of beating the best team in the division since Christmas. Indeed, it’s a good way to go into the second leg as we were the first side to stop Fulham scoring since 16th December.

Rowett had a gameplan and stuck to it!

The resilience of our defence was key. Curtis Davies, Richard Keogh and Craig Forsyth all had very good games. Davies gave a captain’s performance and led by example. Forsyth not only had a good game in the back line, but he also suppled the vital cross for Cameron Jerome to head in for the only goal of the game.

Unusually it was Matej Vydra who had a quite game. Getting the ball to him proving very tricky.

The key to the game was to keep both Sessengnon and Fredericks quiet and that me managed to do. Wisdom and Weimann both worked well in the wing back roles. Wisdom was another stand out player and with the return game on Monday it’s important that performances like these continue.

Craven Cottage hasn’t been the best of hunting grounds over the year, but with a little belief, hard work and of course luck (which all sides need a little of) a victory could be ours on Monday night. This of course whilst paying due regard to Fulham, who are going in as favourites even though they trail by the one goal.

I think that in the first leg Gary Rowett got his tactics spot on even though we had to soak up some serious pressure! One might fear Fulham being more productive in front of their own fans and rightly so as they are a class act.

What will be important is an early goal.

Score early and they could crack under the pressure, but equally if they score early then our backs will suddenly be against the wall. One thing I’m certain of is the fact that we will need to score again, I can’t see them failing in front of goal again.

The Rams fans travelling down to the capital will make plenty of noise again.

Let’s hop they come home happy!