Ahead of our trip to the Midlands on Saturday, I’ve been catching up with Steve Eyre, webmaster of Derby County – the acclaimed website of Steve Eyre.

Despite appearances he’s an unassuming & modest chap, who, once he recovered from the memory of our 6-4 victory at the Baseball Ground in 1990, took some time out to answer some questions about his side’s ahem, re-adjustment to top-flight football.

Cutting straight to the chase, what do you think of your performances so far this season? The performances have been poor, its a simple fact that we have not been able to compete at this level. The injury to Andy Todd has been a particularly bad blow in my opinion.

What areas of your squad need strengthening?

All areas need to be looked at, our squad just isn’t strong enough – it’s that simple.

Who’s been your form player so far? Who do we need to look out for?

In truth it’s difficult to pick out anyone.

What do you think of Chelsea, as if we needed to ask? Are you impressed by how quickly Grant’s got the players playing for him, or do you think Abramovich has a right to expect us to walk the League?

Chelsea have some quality players but its not just about buying players they still have to gel and be motivated, Abramovich has to realise that you cant just throw money at a team and expect it to win. Grant does seem to have got things going again but it will, like any team, be what happens after the initial enthusiasm has died down.

Which of your current squad do you most admire?

I admire Andy Todd he’s a quality player with the same grit that his father had it’s just a shame that we haven’t seen more of him.

We’ve not been conceding much of late, despite our defensive injury crisis. Think we’ll actually get a game out of you?

I’m expecting lots of goals but unfortunately at the wrong end.

How will you deal with Chelsea? Do you stuff the midfield, or will we see a more adventurous line-up?

I expect Derby will probably go to frustrate Chelsea and hope to catch some thing on the break.

Where will you finish this season?

Well we are obviously staring at one of the three relegation places, at the moment we are totally outclassed so unless things change we are headed back to the Championship.

Promotion through the playoffs then immediate relegation seems now to be an accepted way to build up the coffers for a more sustainable tilt at Premier League football in the following seasons – is that what you’re doing and is this the only way to “bridge the gap” between the two divisions?

The promotion via the play offs was utterly unexpected, Billy Davies did a fantastic job last year and was ahead of the Chairman’s three year plan to get promoted. But we got caught out and missed out on signings for various reasons in the summer. The Chairman has now handed over to Adam Pearson after admitting that the Club needs more investment to compete at this level.

The sad fact is that even to compete at the lower end of the Premier League takes a lot of money and has no guarantees. But the fans of clubs who have achieved through the play offs have to accept this. However, the dismissive attitude of the press and belittling attitudes of the likes of Lineker and Co. is difficult to put up with, especially if you’re not a so called “fashionable” club.

Where do you think Chelsea will finish?

I would expect top three so either 2nd or 3rd.

Give us a score prediction.

9-1 to Chelsea.

Thanks Steve, it’s unusual to say that “I hope you’re right” when it comes to predicting the score. Good luck for the rest of the season!

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