Derby County manager Phillip Cocu has praised Craig Forsyth on RamsTV as he helped the Rams pick up all three points against Preston North End in his comeback.
Derby defeated the Lilywhites 1-0 thanks to Martyn Waghorn’s winner.
While Waghorn may pick up the plaudits for his match-winning goal, Derby’s Man of the Match was defender Craig Forsyth who made his first start in over a year.
Forsyth, who is predominantly a left-back, played in central defence. He was excellent throughout, earning plenty of praise from manager Phillip Cocu after the game.
What a game he played. I’m extremely happy for him. I see him more as a centre-back because of the way he can play, his passing game and his coaching also. We made a plan for him from the start of the season. We put a lot of responsibility on his side and after the injury with Matt [Clarke] I spoke with him and he said ‘if you need me I’m ready’. If you play your first game [of the season] and this [type of] game, you can be very pleased with your performance as are we.
Craig Forsyth solves a potential Derby County problem:
Derby hosted Preston who began the day in second place in the Championship. Coupled with a defensive crisis, the visitors could arrive with plenty of confidence.
But the Rams gambled, and it paid off. Krystian Bielik could have dropped back into defence, but Cocu kept the Pole in midfield and turned to Forsyth in defence.
The former Watford man suffered an ACL knee ligament injury over a year ago. He was out for nine months, and this season had only featured five times at U23 level.
But Forsyth, 30, looked a natural at centre-back. Standing at 6ft 3inch, having good awareness and being strong in the tackle, the role is arguably now ideal for him.
Forsyth posted five clearances and three aerial winners against Preston.
Derby will be hoping he can retain his fitness. And, with performances of this ilk, Forsyth may stop the Rams needing to go out and buy another defender in January.