In a new series, we give Derby County fans the opportunity to air their views. Here, Robbie Duncanson shares his thoughts on the Rams.
A WORRYING downturn in form for Derby County has coincided with their now annual injury crisis, pulling them further away from the play-off spots.
But is playing players out of position helping?
John Brayford is one of Derby's strongest attacking outlets, yet it feels as though his abilities are wasted at centre-back.
I felt he had an absolutely superb game against Bolton but we have had no outlet down the right-hand side in recent weeks and Paul Coutts has struggled ever since Brayford was moved to centre-back.
And now for stand-in Ben Davies. I do wonder how he's Derby's third-choice right-back when we have players such as Valentin Gjokaj sat on the bench.
Yes, he's young and inexperienced but surely having as many players as possible in their natural positions is more beneficial than shoehorning midfield players in there.
It's hard to remember the last young player to get a run in the first team and not impress, the likes of Will Hughes, Mark O'Brien and, more recently, Michael Hoganson have all done themselves proud. So why not give Gjokaj a chance?
It also took an injury to Will Hughes for Clough to play Craig Bryson in central midfield again.
Sometimes it seems Clough is more willing to play his best players as opposed to his best team.
Bryson certainly isn't effective out wide compared to when he plays down the middle, yet fitting Hughes, Hendrick and Bryson into the same team was persisted with.
This certainly weakened the side and the team lost the balance it had which saw them dominate Middlesbrough and Tranmere Rovers earlier this year.
With Michael Jacobs looking a good prospect every game he plays, it's difficult to see why Bryson is played out wide ahead of him.
The ground Bryson covers is far more telling when he's playing inside, with Jacobs' direct running and pace giving Derby a much better outlet down the left-hand side.
It hasn't just been this season either. Clough persisted with Paul Green at right-back last season when only injury forced him to bring in Tom Naylor, who did himself proud and was a far better right-back than Paul Green.
It also seems an odd decision to loan out Naylor when we're so short at the back.
He's already proved himself to be a good defender at this level and certainly a better right-back than Ben Davies.
After a worrying winless run, hopefully, the likes of Jake Buxton, Hughes and Gareth Roberts can return and make that difference, with all players playing in their proper positions.
Derby have an important month in March which could see them become play-off hopefuls or even get dragged into a relegation scrap.