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Derby County duo to have contracts extended

Friday 28th April 2017
Derby County recently announced veterans Chris Baird and Darren Bent will have their contracts extended by a further twelve months. We assess how useful the pair could be for the Rams next season.
When the news broke that Derby County had decided to extend both Baird and Bent's contracts, it divided opinion among Rams fans. Many believe the duo are past their prime and the club should look to the future instead; others suggest that the experience of both players is invaluable at this level.

Baird, 35, has made over fifty appearances for the club since signing from West Bromwich Albion in summer of 2015. A statistic made all the more impressive when considering he was almost hounded out in the early stages of his Derby career. Baird found it difficult during his first few weeks at Pride Park. He then made matters worse for himself, reacting negatively to criticism from the East Stand, which instantaneously made him a scapegoat for the Rams' poor form. Baird has since come through the aforementioned adversity to establish himself as one of the team's most consistent performers this campaign.

To return to the first team after facing such hardships highlights the importance a character like Chris Baird has in the dressing room. Furthermore, a younger player would arguably find it much more difficult to bounce back after being vilified by his own fans. Baird's versatility is another aspect of his game that could prove extremely useful to Derby next season. He has excelled in his natural position at right back but has also been dependable when asked to deputise at centre-back and left-back, as well as filling in as a defensive midfielder on occasion last season. A utility player such as Baird is absolutely vital in the Championship, where injuries and suspensions are rife across a gruelling 46-game season.

Derby County fans were quick to dismiss Darren Bent this season, often criticising the 33-year-old of being well past his prime. Bent may not possess the pace to get in behind defences that he once had, but he has contributed well for Derby again this season. He has that uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time and knowing where the goal is, which is highlighted by the 13 goals he has managed in all competitions this season. Although it's far from Bent's most prolific season, it should still be regarded as an impressive return for an ageing striker who has been in and out of the starting eleven.

A fair portion of Bent's goals for Derby have arrived when he has been brought on as a late substitution in order to rescue a point or to gain all three. His ability to snatch late goals could be useful for the Rams again next season. A seasoned finisher like Darren Bent could be the difference between a draw or win in a division as competitive as the Championship.

Both Chris Baird and Darren Bent could prove useful members of the team once again next season. Although Derby's squad is in desperate need of fresh faces, the duo's experience is irreplaceable at this level.
Chris Soloman
21-year-old media student and football fanatic living in Manchester. Lifelong Derby County fan.

Total articles: 4

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