Rams draw a blank in 0-0 draw with local side Ilkeston FC.Derby County’s second pre-season friendly of 2014/15 ended in a 0-0 stalemate at the New Manor Ground, as Steve McClaren’s side were left ruing their profligacy in front goal during a fruitful opening 45 minutes.
The Rams began proceedings in their familiar 4-3-3/4-1-2-3 formation, with Dutchman Kelle Roos in goal, behind a back-four of Kieran Freeman, Mark O’Brien, Jake Buxton and Craig Forsyth.
Academy graduate Jamie Hanson was implemented in the holding midfield role, alongside Alban Bunjaku and trialist Scott Allan, while the familiar trio of Johnny Russell, Chris Martin and Jamie Ward completed the forward line.
The front three in attack continuously caused the home side problems during the first-half, with Russell curling a sumptuous 20-yard free-kick narrowly wide of Jordan Smith’s near post, before Ward struck the inside of the woodwork from a tight angle.
Sandwiched in-between the Rams’ best opportunities of the game, former Derby player Kane Richards escaped clean through on goal for Ilkeston, only to be denied by a terrific one-handed save from goalkeeper Roos.
Opportunities soon began to flow the visitors’ way as they controlled possession, waiting for the gaps to appear in the host’s back-four. Firstly, Russell charged down goalkeeper Smith, only for the ball to deflect inches wide of goal, before the Scotsman was denied by the Ilkeston shot-stopper in a one-on-one, as he attempted to lift the ball over the advancing ‘keeper.
At the break, McClaren implemented an entirely different starting line-up, with trialists Eros Medaglia and Mo Shariff featuring at right-back and upfront respectively, while new signing Alefe Santos was given his first opportunity to shine after joining from Bristol Rovers last week.
However, the Rams lacked ingenuity and tempo in the second period, with chances for both teams remaining at a premium, as the sun shone down on the New Manor Ground.
The Rams’ most clear-cut chances of the half came through a Lee Naylor free-kick, which flew narrowly over the crossbar, and a Conor Sammon snapshot – as the Republic of Ireland international was denied by an astute stop from former Derby goalkeeper, Ross Atkins.
However, it was arguably Ilkeston who had the most promising signs of a breakthrough during a quiet second period, as with three minutes remaining, Courey Grantham failed to capitalise on a Lee Naylor mistake, firing straight at substitute ‘keeper, Ross Etheridge.
Derby County (first-half): Roos (GK); Freeman, Buxton, O’Brien, Forsyth; Hanson, Bunjaku, Allan; Ward, Martin, Russell.
Derby County (second-half): Etheridge (GK); Medaglia, Whitbread, Rawson, L. Naylor (Uade 88’); T. Naylor, Lowe, Bennett; Santos (McDonald 78’), Sammon, Shariff (Thomas 78’).
Substitute not used: Calero.