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Planning for the playoffs

Carl Sagan

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In football, it's often the hope that kills you. Your team teases you into believing that good times really could be only just around the corner, if only you believe. If only you keep the faith.

Well, anyone and everyone should now be under no illusion that there's no chance whatsoever of automatic promotion this season. The most optimistic among us could have thought a corner had been turned with two wins in a row and been looking upwards with 13 games of the season to go. However, had those people looked at the mathematics they'd have understood we couldn't afford to lose any more games and retain a chance. And we've now lost another game. Stll with a dozen matches remaining, the autos haver disappeared over a distant horizon. In some ways it's good that even false hope has now been snatched decisively away.

There are up to ten teams in the league that could contest the playoffs, down to Preston in tenth place. If you project the season-long form of Brum and Ipswich currently in eighth and ninth, they'd finish on 71 points. Lowest of the playoff spots this season is likely to be 72 points, with 76 being pretty much a guarantee. Nineteen points from our remaining twelve games doesn't sound a lot at first, but when you realize we've only taken nine points from our last ten matches it appears a bit of a mountain to climb. Fifteen points from our last twelve could still see us limp over the line, but even that looks pretty tough and doesn't give us the momentum many believe a successful playoff team needs.

Of the teams in the mix, we still have to play:

  • Cardiff (A)
  • Hull (H)
  • Wendies (H)
  • Brighton (A)
  • Ipswich(H)

All of those games are in April except the last in May. We could save ourselves a lot of bother if we have a good March. If not, then we become reliant on beating the teams we're directly competing with.

Even though it's the hope that kills you, right now I still believe that we'll win six more games and cement our playoff spot. How do we reach that point playing with verve and style, attacking at pace and overpowering other teams? Is there a change DW should make now that will let us snap into the right style and recover Mel's mythical Derby way? Is Bryson the missing ingredient, or Bucko, or is it time to  unleash the unknown wing-wizardry of Camara on the division? What of formations?

I do think the squad is bound to be healthier and less bloated with Pearce, Baird and Shotton out on loan, but we still have a plethora of midfielders and forwards and seemingly little idea of how best to put the jigsaw together so everything fits. And I don't now believe that Mel is going to bring in a tried and tested manager to see us over the line, but nothing surprises you at Derby.

Do you still believe? And what should be the plan?


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its a great piece of work Carl - and I am like you - I think we will limp into the playoffs. God knows how

Last year when we didn't make it - on the last day - I was quite relieved actually  - cos we would have been completely outclassed by the likes of Boro and Norwich.

But you never know - and stumbling into the playoffs - getting Hughes fit.....trying to find a formula - may just happen

Great football eh!!!

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I agree, bring an experienced coach in and we could well not only get in the play offs, but win them!

We do have some quality players here and they are better than most and equal to other squads in the championship, we just need some experience to get them to gel.

Watching the game yesterday we actually looked like a mid table side, Wassall is out of his depth, not the man for this job and anybody that still thinks he is disillusioned. 

Either bring somebody in who knows what he is doing and go for the play offs or call it a day with the season, finish out of the top 6 and bring somebody in the summer, but my only concern is Mel might give the job to Wassall in the summer anyway.  


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6 hours ago, jake the ram said:

what I've seen of Dcfc of late only one man ? can sort this lot out love ❤ or hate him is Pearson then and only then maybe playoffs

I thought he'd retired, but apparently he's playing for Motherwell, which is probably the same thing.



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28 minutes ago, MuespachRam said:

Didn't someone ever tell him about the dangers of a ginger wearing bright orange..? Come on somebody should be helping him with decisions like that.

It almost looks as though he's wearing a team hat.

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5 hours ago, Chris Mills said:

Whether we make the playoffs or not, we probably won't go up (probably 25% chance ish) and next year we will be having this exact same conversation, as we have for the last 3 now. 

So, on current showing, you reckon we'll still be in the top six going into March 2017?

Impressive Chris!:thumbsup:

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I would like to think we would make the playoffs, but with games like Brighton, Ipswich, Sheff Wed and Hull to come I think we might have to rely on teams around us slipping up. I certainly don't think we would beat any of the other teams in the playoffs unless something drastically changes (or we could just do it by accident like we did the last time we went up). 

If it can't be Derby I want it to be Wednesday or Brighton who go up.

2 hours ago, MuespachRam said:

IF and it is a big IF we make the play offs the other teams in there would be desperate to play us.

Wednesday remind me a lot of us under Stevie when we got to the final, I just hope we are like QPR that same season....


It will be a Derby v Brighton playoff final with Derby dominating the game for 90 minutes and then Zamora will come off the bench, breakaway and score in the 90th minute.


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My heart says we'll win the play offs but my head says there isn't enough in us to win 3 high pressure games especially against the one who misses out on the top two.

Our team/squad has a poor record against Burnley and Boro,we seem to bottle the big gamed... the Red Dogs result will be an indicator of how we finish the season.

Would be so much different with a Manager who isn't happy with mediocrity.

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