Graphic: Why Paul Clement should select this Derby County XI against Charlton

Derby County host Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

Derby County’s first home match of the 2015/16 Championship campaign sees them host Charlton Athletic with newly-appointed boss Paul Clement seeking his first official victory in charge of the club.

The Rams have been frustrated in their opening two matches of the season, drawing 0-0 at Bolton Wanderers before crashing out of the League Cup with a 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth of League Two.

Paul Clement’s side haven’t clicked yet, playing far too narrow in both matches and struggling to get the best out of their star players largely as a result of playing them out of position.

Back five:

Against Charlton, Chris Baird should drop back into the right-back slot whereas Craig Forsyth needs to start on the opposite side, with the Scot’s ability to get forward vital in providing extra width.

In the first two matches of the season, the fullbacks have been far too defensive and the team’s slow tempo has starved them of space to run into when pushing forward.

Jason Shackell was solid enough against Portsmouth, winning plenty of headers but his distribution needs work as he has a tendency to regularly attempt 40-yard cross-filed passes to no avail.

Keogh, on the other hand, is an able passer from the back and should come in alongside Shackell.


Midfield has become a problem for Derby after the injuries to Will Hughes and Craig Bryson, and so far Clement’s insistence of either a diamond or two-man midfield has proven futile.

George Thorne is an excellent defensive midfielder and arguably the best in his role outside the Premier League, though he is aided further when playing alongside two more players in the middle.

Simon Dawkins is technically superb, with his first-touch, movement on the ball and passing ability traits which are such a joy to watch when he’s in full swing.

However, the Jamaican star was played too far forward at Fratton Park and is wasted on the wing. For his skill set, it’s quite unbelievable that he hasn’t been given an extended run in a midfield three.

Jeff Hendrick struggles in a midfield two, but in a midfield three he’s a much more effective player as he’s given licence to push forward, join the attack and use his so-called engine to good effect.

Attacking trio:

Chris Martin simply has to start up top on his own where is much more operative. His link-up play, first touch and ability to drop deeper and play between the lines is superb.

Tom Ince is another star playing out of position. Last season, the winger netted 11 goals in 18 games from a wide area and averaged an impressive 3.8 shots per Championship fixture.

Yet, the former Hull City man is being tasked with playing as a number 10 where space is more congested, his ability to cut inside on his wicked left foot is nulled and shooting opportunities are more infrequent.

The only player to probably suffer from a 4-3-3 formation is summer signing Andreas Weimann, though the Austrian has the pace and energy to play wide left and go beyond Martin when the Scot drops deeper.

The former Aston Villa man was ineffectual against Pompey, yet he wasn’t the only one as constant long balls and a clear lack of ideas left many supporters questioning which side is tipped for promotion to the Premier League and which plays its football in the fourth tier of English football.

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