Derby County, with a big win tonight under the floodlights at Pride Park over local neighbours Burton Albion, could push into the League One automatic promotion places on goal difference at the expense of Peterborough United.
With Paul Warne’s men arguably suffering from being a big fish in a small pond in the third tier – the weight of expectation significant on the Rams from minute one this campaign – this month could be key in signing fresh blood that could catapult Derby back up to the promised land of the Championship.
One transfer target in particular could help Warne’s men pick up even more comprehensive wins as the promotion race heats up, poaching the player in question from a fellow third-tier outfit if a deal gets over the line.
Derby’s hunt for a left winger
Football Insider has revealed in the past few days that Derby have made a bid of £250k for Charlton Athletic star-man Corey Blackett-Taylor. The Addicks are marooned in an underwhelming mid-table spot currently and the Rams will look to steal the left winger away from the underperforming outfit as a result.
The League One automatic promotion candidates will also look to sign Blackett-Taylor for a cut-price to further pile on the misery, the ex-Aston Villa attacker out of contract at the Valley at the end of the campaign.
A bright spark in an otherwise dismal season so far for the Londoners, Derby could well look to sign the on-fire 26-year-old attacker to enhance their own options down the left-hand flank with Blackett-Taylor an upgrade on the experienced but ageing Tom Barkhuizen.
Further, seasoned third-tier sharpshooter James Collins will be licking his lips at the prospect of playing alongside a winger who has been an assist king for the Addicks this campaign on top of being a reliable goalscorer himself.
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The stats that show Blackett-Taylor is better than Barkhuizen
Blackett-Taylor has been central to everything promising at the Valley this season, helping himself to a staggering 16 goal contributions from just 28 games in a flat Addicks side.
Slotting in to play alongside the likes of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Conor Hourihane should see Blackett-Taylor go on leaps and bounds, an even more frightening prospect for third tier defenders to keep tabs on if the Rams are successful in sealing the deal.
In contrast, Barkhuizen – who has been Warne’s main man down the left wing this season – has ten goal contributions next to his name at Pride Park from 25 games in all competitions.
At 30 years of age too, in a Derby team that does often go for the experienced head more often than not, the Rams number seven will only deteriorate over time and so Warne could look for an injection of freshness and excitement by swooping for Blackett-Taylor.
Collins will hope he can play the role of Alfie May back at Pride Park if the tricky winger relocates to Derbyshire, the deadly Charlton striker top scorer in the division with 16 goals alongside the reliable service of his dependable and slick teammate despite the continued struggles of the team under Michael Appleton.
The 33-year-old striker could well become a far more effective beast playing alongside Blackett-Taylor therefore, with the flanker previously described as being “very difficult to defend against” by Johnnie Jackson.
Collins is on 11 for the campaign already in League One but has reached far loftier heights at the level before with Luton Town – scoring 25 goals during the Hatters’ title-winning 2018-19 season up to the Championship.
Derby are plugging along nicely, but with a New Year’s Day defeat to Peterborough United still lingering at the back of their minds, signing talents such as Blackett-Taylor could really show they mean business in the automatic promotion hunt.