Why Derby County must sign Preston North End’s Ben Davies
The Rams’ manager is keen on adding another ball-playing centre-back to his ranks and has identified the 23-year-old Davies as a viable option (h/t Derby Telegraph).
A graduate of the Preston North End academy, Davies made his first-team debut for the Lilywhites in a League One fixture at the age of 17. Since then, he has served loan spells away at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport FC, Newport County and Fleetwood Town.
He featured 35 times for the Lilywhites last season, establishing himself as an integral part of the team. So far, the 23-year-old has made 56 appearances for the Preston senior team, scoring a goal in the process. In the 2018/19 term, Davies has featured in 8 Championship games for Alex Neil’s side, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the table with just 5 points in 9 games.
Derby, on the other hand, find themselves pushing for promotion as they sit sixth on the table. Under Lampard, the Rams have made a solid start to the season and must aim to build on it. And to that end, bringing in a new centre-back in the January window would be a good move.
The club have Curtis Davies, Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce as options in the centre-back position, along with on-loan Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori. However, captain Curtis Davies is currently sidelined with an injury. Given that he is already 33 and Keogh is 32, adding young blood to the heart of the backline makes sense for the Pride Park outfit.
The case for a new defensive recruit becomes stronger when one considers the fact that Lampard seems to not rate Pearce highly. The 29-year-old has made just one first-team appearance this term, with the manager often utilizing the young Tomori ahead of him since Davies’ injury.
And this is where signing Ben Davies from Preston could prove to be useful for the Rams. Despite the team’s struggles, the 23-year-old has managed to shine through with some noteworthy performances this term. Meanwhile, his displays from the previous term have shown that he could go on to become a leader at the back.
Blessed with aerial strength, the Englishman is a handy presence in either penalty box during set-piece situations. Moreover, in his fledgeling career, the defender has displayed good ball-playing abilities and has demonstrated great composure at the back.
Davies has shown good promise and will only continue improving from his current level. Hence, he has the potential to be a good addition to the Derby squad should they sign him in January.