Nathan Tyson's impact as sub pushes his claims for a starting slot
NATHAN Tyson is hammering on the door for a start when Derby County take on Championship leaders Cardiff City at Pride Park Stadium tonight (7.45pm).
The striker has started only three League games this season, his last in the draw at Middlesbrough eight weeks ago, when he was replaced after an hour.
But Tyson's impact as a substitute in recent matches has placed him on the verge of a recall.
"Nathan was close to a start on Saturday, it was a toss up between him and Theo (Robinson) and it will be again tonight," said manager Nigel Clough.
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Coach Johnny Metgod added: "Nathan is making the decision to leave him out harder and harder."
Tyson came off the bench and hit the winner against Birmingham City at the weekend. It was the third time in his last six appearances as a sub that he has scored.
He is not keen on the tag "super-sub" and hopes his form can win him a start against Cardiff.
Metgod says Tyson is making a good case.
"I would not like to be named a 'super-sub' because it means you are sub and if you are a player, you want to play," added Metgod.
"But you cannot fault Nathan. Each time he has come on, he has done the job.
"He is pushing and pushing to get in the team and that's all he can do."
Tyson has scored five goals in 12 games this season following a nightmare first season at Derby, when injury sidelined him for a long spell. He also failed to score in 24 games.
Clough is full of praise for Tyson's attitude, despite his shortage of starts.
"Nathan has had the injuries and the knocks in his time with us but, for 18 months now, his attitude has been brilliant," said Clough.
"Yes, we get frustrated at times when the ball bounces off him and things like that but he is a very genuine lad."
Asked what he has to do to earn a start, Clough replied: "Play like he did against Birmingham when he does start.
"He has been better coming on, in truth.
"His pace makes him a good option as a sub. When defences are tiring, that is when we have used him. He is the last thing a centre half wants to see coming on at 70-odd minutes gone."