The Monday Profile: James Bailey
Derby County’s double swoop for James Bailey and John Brayford from Crewe last week smacked ever so slightly of “buy one, get one free”. Brayford teams up with his fellow Burton Albion alumnus Nigel Clough at Pride Park and looks to be a solid procurement: a place in the League Two team of the season, a near ever present tally of appearances and two player of the year awards in succession at Gresty Road would mark him out as ripe for plucking from the lower divisions. A return to the Midlands has duly been arranged.
But what of Bailey? Is he, as it first appears, the Mauricio Solis to Brayford’s Paulo Wanchope or will he prove to be of equal worth in a deal that brings to mind the capture of Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano, albeit a markedly less glamorous one?
Bailey has developed through the ranks in Cheshire, a passage that is not be sniffed at given the emergence from those climes of David Platt, Danny Murphy, Nicky Maynard and Geoff Thomas down the decades, not to mention the man he is rumoured to be earmarked to succeed, one Robert William Savage. A midfielder of some energy, Bailey’s past two seasons have been impacted by injury and he made only 23 appearances in 2009-10. Derby’s appalling away record this past year has indicated a need for new steel in the centre of the park and Bailey will certainly hope to challenge for a place, with Gilles Sunu having returned to Arsenal and Savage on his last legs. It is, on the face of it, a low key signing, but who would openly dare to question a graduate of the Temple of Dario – certainly not Alex fans – they are convinced that the lion’s share of the £1.3 million fee has been spent on Bailey: with Brayford merely a smokescreen.