Blogs & Opinion


Championship Spotlight:

Rejuvenated Rams

As part of Sky Sports' Championship spotlight, Chris Burton catches up with Derby County striker Theo Robinson.

Championship Spotlight - Championship Spotlight Posted 9th March 2012 view comments

Playing catch-up at this stage of the season is never easy, with those leading from the front normally brimming with confidence and those languishing at the bottom usually stuck in a rut.

Derby County are hoping that they can buck the trend and haul their way up the Championship, with a nine-point gap currently separating them from the second tier play-off places.

The Rams still have 12 games to come, offering them the opportunity to pick up 36 points, but they are relying on others to do them a favour.

Theo Robinson: Free from injury and looking to fire Derby up the Championship table

Theo Robinson: Free from injury and looking to fire Derby up the Championship table

Nigel Clough's side sit 14th in the table at present, meaning they need to overhaul at least eight clubs to see themselves into the end of season promotion picture.

It has to be said that reaching the top six will be a big ask, but football has a habit of producing the unexpected and now is no time to throw in the towel.

Derby have already proved that they are capable of holding their own inside the leading pack, with a positive start to the campaign and a productive New Year seeing them into the mix.

They may have fallen away over recent weeks, but a 2-1 victory over high-flying Blackpool on Tuesday suggests they could be about to make a late charge.

Theo Robinson is among those who believe anything is still possible, with the Rams striker telling Sky Sports' Chris Burton that the club are planning to take giant strides between now and May.

Luck

Asked if the play-offs are still a target for Derby, he said: "Yeah, definitely. We have got a few home games coming up. They are tough games but we need to keep working hard and doing what we are doing. We need to kick on from the Blackpool game. Hopefully we can beat Watford and Nottingham Forest, but that will be a hard task for us. If we can get three points in one game and in the other game get a draw, that would be great because every point helps."

Robinson is looking for the Rams to use their Blackpool success as a springboard, with that result having snapped the club out of a seven-match winless run.

"To be honest, it was just one of things," he said on the dip in results.

"It wasn't that we weren't playing well, we just weren't getting the slices of luck. You could see that in certain games, especially the Southampton game - it wasn't a 4-0 game, but we lost 4-0. Hopefully the last two games have shown what we are back to, winning games and getting a slice of luck when it comes our way.

"The draw before (against Birmingham) obviously helped us out a bit and gave us the platform to kick on from there. Hopefully we can just keep going now."

Slipping off the pace has been hugely frustrating for all concerned at Pride Park, but Robinson admits he has found the slump harder to stomach than most.

He said: "It's been frustrating. I have been out injured so I have been watching the games and supporting the boys. Being on the sidelines is frustrating and makes it even harder because you know you can't do anything. I have just tried to get back fit and get back in the team and hopefully now I can play my part for the rest of the season."

Anything above 19th could be considered progress for Derby this season, with the club having only narrowly avoided the drop last term.

Robinson said: "We have got to get into the top half, that will be a lot better than where we are now. We just need to win as many games as possible and work hard to get as high as possible. We started the season flying but then we have had injuries and suspensions and that has hit us hard, especially as we have a young squad.

"Last season we finished with 49 points and we have already got 46 points now, so that's progress from last season."

Targets

Robinson is hoping to help the club to a considerably better points return this time around, with the 23-year-old having started both the draw with hometown team Birmingham and the win over Blackpool.

He was on target in a 2-2 draw with the Blues, with an emotional occasion seeing him take to the field on the 20th anniversary of his grandmother's death and the day after his girlfriend's father passed away.

He said: "I have just come back from injury for the Birmingham game, so it's been a bit frustrating for me. I have been injured a few times this season, but hopefully I can put that behind me now and stay injury-free. I want to get a few more goals and put in some good performances."

The former Huddersfield Town and Millwall forward has already netted nine goals this season, making him Derby's top scorer, but he is planning to add a few more to his tally before the 2011/12 campaign comes to a close.

He said: "I will take any goals when they come. But I want to get a few more and get into double figures for the season. That is a personal goal but it will help the team as well and make sure we finish in the top half."

There is every chance that Robinson will hit his target, with the confidence flowing now that he feels settled in his surroundings.

He said: "I have felt alright since I came in to be honest. I have got on with everybody and worked well with everybody on team trips. It's been good. We have gelled well together. We will see what happens in the future. I have got two years left on my contract, well one year and a year option. That allows you to think more about your football.

"I am feeling more settled now and I feel happy now. When you get more years on your contract you know you can work hard towards becoming a better player."

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Chelsea in good shape for PSG

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is likely to have a strong squad to select from for their Champions League game with Paris Saint-Germain.

'Let's throw some punches'

New Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood says he is planning to install a more attacking approach at the club.

LVG: We must sign a midfielder

Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Manchester United will attempt to sign a creative midfield player this summer.

Live transfer updates

Live transfer news as Louis van Gaal makes the signing a creative midfielder his top priority this summer.

Bony trains with new team-mates

Wilfried Bony has trained with Man City for the first time after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

Features

Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

As Tim Sherwood settles into his first day at work as Aston Villa manager, the challenge of keeping the Premier League perennials in the top flight begins.

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Only a fortnight after the transfer window closed, Louis van Gaal has set tongues wagging again by admitting that Manchester United need to sign a creative midfielder.

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Adam Bate looks at Xabi Alonso's fine form with Bayern Munich and why he can make history this season.