Derby County currently find themselves sitting in the second automatic promotion place in the Championship under the management of Gary Rowett. They have a solid chance of winning promotion to the Premier League next May and are currently one of the most consistent sides in the division.
A key reason behind the Rams’ success this season is the form of striker Matej Vydra. The 25-year-old has really found his form this season at Pride Park and is currently the Championship’s joint leading scorer with 15 goals along with Sheffield United’s Leon Clarke.
However, it has taken a significant amount of time for Vydra to settle at Pride Park so how has Rowett been able to get the best out of him this season?
Full of confidence
Everyone who has been paying attention to the Championship in recent years will be aware of the potential that Vydra has to be a lethal striker in this division. He was regarded as one of the best strikers in the league during his time at Watford. His most successful campaign came in the 2012/13 season as he scored 20 goals in 41 league appearances for the Hornets as they agonisingly missed out on automatic promotion before losing in the Play-Off Final to Crystal Palace.
Watford were able to sign him permanently a couple of years later as he continued to impress at Vicarage Road. However, he was eventually deemed surplus to requirements at the top flight club, and he struggled to find the same consistency in his performances following his departure. His loan spell with Reading was particularly unsuccessful as he only managed to score three goals in 31 league appearances.
He joined the Rams for a fee of around £8 million in August 2016, but his first season was a struggle, finding the back of the net just five times in the league. However, Rowett has been able to help rekindle the striker’s form this season, and he is now finally showing once again what he is capable of.
Suits the system
Rowett has got the best out of Vydra this season by utilising him in the ‘Number 10’ role which is his most effective position. He has regularly played with David Nugent this season which has proved to be a very effective partnership. Nugent is a very experienced Championship striker with a high work rate. He chases everything down and holds the ball up well which allows Vydra to feed off him. The Rams have also recently signed Cameron Jerome from Championship rivals Norwich City, and he is a very similar striker to Nugent and arrives with a wealth of experience.
Due to how fragile Vydra’s confidence has proved to be in the past, Rowett will be hoping that the striker can continue to find the back of the net on a regular basis between now and the end of the season. However, with the likes of Nugent, Jerome, Sam Winnall and Chris Martin waiting for an opportunity to impress, he is not short of attacking options.
Vydra will next have an opportunity to add to his tally when the Rams travel to The Den to face Millwall on Tuesday evening as they look to cement their position in the Championship automatic places.