5 goals, 21 aerial duels won, Derby front man is leading Rams' charge

Derby County Huddle

The Rams are now unbeaten in six Championship games.

Steve McClaren's Derby side may have started the season slowly but six games unbeaten have sent them straight back up the Championship table.

The Rams' formbook never read particularly badly but a defeat and a number of draws saw them drop points in places many predicted they wouldn't encounter any trouble.

Now, however, McClaren's men are just four points off the top of the table, with their 2-0 win at Bolton moving them into the play-off places on goal difference.

It is only early days but Derby County are starting to develop their rhythm. And, yesterday in particular, they had striker Chris Martin to thank.

  PositionTeamGoalsAssistsChances CreatedDribbles WonAerial Duels WonAppearancesMins Played
Chris Martin FW Derby 5 0 12 3 21 9 810
Jamie Ward MF Derby 5 1 12 6 3 8 597
Craig Bryson MF Derby 2 1 19 3 1 9 790
Jake Buxton DF Derby 0 0 1 0 22 6 537
Richard Keogh DF Derby 0 0 3 3 29 9 810

As Opta stats show, his double took the striker to five goals for the season (six to put him one clear in all competitions). But Martin's worth to the side doesn't stop there, as he has created 12 chances for his team-mates, the same amount as another star performer Jamie Ward.

Crucially, though, Martin is far superior in the air, having won more aerial duels than anyone at Derby expect for defenders Jake Buxton and Richard Keogh.

Derby next face Bournemouth on Tuesday and McClaren will no doubt want to see another solid performance from his striker. The 25-year-old was his side's top scorer with 22 goals last season and he has made a strong enough start to suggest a repeat this campaign.

That's even if he does miss the odd penalty...

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