A New Derby Wing Man
Lee Croft first came to significant national attention following a scything tackle on Nicky Hunt in a BBC televised cup tie between Bolton and Oldham in 2005: a combine harvester of a lunge that seemed a personal tribute to Andoni Goikoetxea, the legendary “Beast of Bilbao”. The youngster was on loan to the Latics at the time from Manchester City, but this unhappy incident could not have been more misleading. Croft is no lower division clogger and his reputation has long since been rehabilitated. Unlucky to be ushered out the door at Eastlands, Croft found his way to the Norwich City. A series of buccaneering displays in a fading side caught the attention quickly.
The prematurely receding wide man showed admirable consistency at Carrow Road and a drop to third tier football became unthinkable. Hence, Nigel Clough has fended off Neil Warnock and others for his services and Croft will be a Derby County player for the 2009-10 season. With Kris Commons foraging down the opposite wing, Croft’s close control and ability to deliver a telling cross will be a major new weapon in the Pride Park side’s armoury. Croft is a sensible signing for Derby and although he is unlikely to propel them towards a play off challenge, he will add class to a team that is in danger of perpetually fishing in the Championship’s lower reaches.