OPINION: Gary Rowett has rejuvenated player who previously looked frustrated

IN PICTURE: Derby County manager Gary Rowett.
SPORT: LEAD: Nottingham Forest v Derby County.  Sky Bet Championship match at the City Ground, Nottingham.  Saturday, 18th March 2017.
MARK FEAR - MARK FEAR PHOTOGRAPHY.  CONTACT markfearphotographer@outlook.com (+44) 753 977 3354
IN PICTURE: Derby County manager Gary Rowett. SPORT: LEAD: Nottingham Forest v Derby County. Sky Bet Championship match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Saturday, 18th March 2017. MARK FEAR - MARK FEAR PHOTOGRAPHY. CONTACT markfearphotographer@outlook.com (+44) 753 977 3354

It’s fair to say that Gary Rowett’s first couple of games in charge have been a success.

Without getting carried away, he has got players rising to the challenge of a different formation and game plan.

The 4-2-3-1 is seeing us get a better return from record signing Matej Vydra.

The guy looks rejuvenated and his confidence looks to have returned.

He’s not a lone striker, or a wide man and that has seen him frustrated for most of the season when both Nigel Pearson and then Steve McClaren played him there.

You don’t pay £8m for a player and then ask him to do a job that’s not on his cv.

Vydra playing behind David Nugent looks to be effective and both of these players have been key men in the last couple of games.

The whole team looks to have better shape to it too! Use a player to their strengths and you won’t go far wrong.

The area where we look the weakest is defence. This is despite 17 clean sheets.

The two full-back positions need a look at for the longer term. Chris Baird has done a very good job at right-back and has possibly earned himself a contract extension, but when it comes to Cyrus Christie I think the jury is out. He can be a threat going forward, but I feel the defensive skills are lacking a little.

Left-back would be Craig Forsyth had he not suffered another horrendous injury. He is without doubt the number one choice for the position. Marcus Olsson whilst looking good sometimes with crosses he puts into the box, has at times, looked weak whilst under pressure. The young Forest forward Brereton led him a merry dance during the East Midlands Derby.

Centre-Half positions have question marks over them too.

The much criticised Richard Keogh has come in for some serious flak, but I often wonder if it’s his covering for other players that leads to some of the errors. On his day he’s as good as any other player in the middle of defence, within the division.

Will Alex Pearce figure in Rowett’s long term plans? He’s been outstanding since he came in, but I’m sure we will want more from Jason Shackell.

Many questions remaining over our back four and it’ll be interesting to see what the actual outcome is.

Finally there’s a question of starting Will Hughes. Without doubt our best player, but if you play him, who do you drop? The 4-2-3-1 may well be a success, but I’m struggling to see how you fit Hughes into it!

A very interesting run in and summer awaits us.