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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Steven Davies: A Rams' point of view

The signing of Steven Davies seems an awful long time ago already.  Tuesday night's excitement - a win, four goals and another new signing - makes it seem like a distant memory but Davies' signing was, is, exciting and ambitious in equal measure.

Coming off the back of a narrow and mildly encouraging defeat at one of the favourites for promotion, Nottingham Forest, many fans were discussing the need for some extra potency up front and, lo and behold, we finally land one of our main summer targets.

I'm delighted that Ollie Wright of The Derby County Blog, who penned this piece for The Exiled Robin back in November upon the signing of another Stephen, Pearson, from Pride Park, has returned to these pages to offer a view on City's (penultimate) latest signing.

"If the fact that Nigel Clough had been publicly challenging Steve Davies to step up and become a 20-goal striker this season is anything to go by, it's fair to say that the striker's decision to turn down a contract extension in favour of a summer transfer was something of a surprise to the club.

Clough and his staff clearly thought that, having stood by Davies despite his terrible injury record and given him a platform to finally prove himself in the Championship, they would finally be in a position to reap the benefits and tie down a striker with many strings to his bow - technique, passing, heading, shooting from range, free kicks, a great penalty-taker.  Granted, he lacks pace and isn't the most powerful striker in the division, but there is no reason why he can't become one of the best number nines at this level - fitness allowing.

Because Davies' career appearance record is so patchy that Bristol City shouldn't realistically bank on more than 30 appearances from him in a season.

The abilities are there for all to see.  But Davies never put it together for a whole season at Derby.  Ultimately, it could be that he is not quite durable enough to be a top player and with that in mind, it might not be such a bad thing that he has left Derby.  His goal return was better than one in three appearances last season, but it was only 12 goals from 21 starts and six sub appearances.

I'm sad to see Davies leave, but hopefully, he's making the right decision for his career and more importantly, I sincerely hope that we will be able to replace his goals straight away.  He is a genuine talent and I'll never forget the penalty he scored at the City Ground, when we beat Forest at a canter on a sunny day in February 2009 (as pictured in the banner of Derby County Blog).

A gifted player, Davies never became a real Derby hero and will go down in the history books as one who might have been.  Whether his career continues on a similar path, or Bristol City end up with a real player on their hands, remains to be seen.

2008/09 APPS 10 (13 as sub) GOALS 4
2009/10 APPS 10 (13) GOALS 2
2010/11 APPS 14 (7) GOALS 5
2011/12 APPS 21 (6) GOALS 12

TOTAL STARTS 55 (Sub appearances 39)

Many thanks once again to Ollie for his contribution, and it's another good detailed and balanced picture of an ex-Derby player.  Overall Davies' record at Derby seems strong and the main issue seems to be the regularity in which he can perform.  Injuries have plagued many a player before and a change of scene, of training session, of physio can sometimes work wonders.

He's not a target man who will hold the ball up and batter the defensive line, and he's not a nippy, pacy striker who is going to get in behind the back four, but he is a talented footballer who can create chances as well as score them and offers something no-one else in the current squad can.

If Davies can stay fit and develop alongside the experienced Jon Stead, who will undoubtedly bring him into play with relish, then City may just have signed one of the young gems of the Championship.

1 comment:

  1. I respect his wishes in this very sad situation, but it is hard for admirers and fans of Steve to understand why, after the club stood by him during his injuries, that he cannot reciprocate and continue to perform for Derby, a club which has obviously respected him and treated him well. If, as seemed very likely on last season's form, he could have contributed 20 or so goals then Derby's fortunes, and Nigel's team building would have seemed assured. As it is we are left with a feeling that all that was created has been destroyed.


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