This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
Tom Lawrence's red card against Reading has dealt manager Phillip Cocu a selection headache ahead of Derby County's crucial clash against Preston North End at Deepdale.
Lawrence's absence for three matches due to suspension means Cocu has to find a replacement on the left of his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation as Derby look to maintain their late surge to reach the Championship play-offs.
Who will Cocu turn to?
Can Duane Holmes or Jason Knight fill in? One of those would appear the obvious choice although playing from the left is not natural for them.
Could young Morgan Whittaker be handed a chance or Louie Sibley be shifted from his '10' role?
What about tweaking the formation? That would be a gamble given that Derby are the form team in the Championship and that the race for the play-offs is at a delicate stage.
What about Florian Jozefzoon?
I can almost hear some fans screaming, 'but he has barely played this season'!
That is true.
To be precise, he has had only 21 minutes of first-team action in almost nine months. The last of his six starts this season was in the 2-0 home victory over Luton Town on October 5. His mark in our player ratings that day was a '5', accompanied by the comment: "Another opportunity in the team, but quiet again."
Jozefzoon, who played under Cocu at PSV Eindhoven, started the first three league games this season as Derby beat Huddersfield Town and drew with Swansea and Stoke City.
The hope was that he could build on his lively cameo display in the play-off final in May when he came off the bench for Lawrence, ironically, and troubled Aston Villa, who managed to hang onto their lead to secure promotion.
He has failed to build on that cameo, disappointingly, but he is a natural wide attacking player who could slot into the system. Maybe not ideally on the left, but we were told recently by Curtis Davies that Jozefzoon is the "hardest to defend against" in training. "He twists and turns. He can do what he wants with the ball going one v one. He’s very difficult to defend," Davies said.
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Maybe Derby should let Jozefzoon loose against a Preston side without a win in five and that has picked up just one point from six since the restart. North End have slipped out of the top six and could be jittery on Wednesday.
Heroes tend to emerge at the end of seasons and not the start. Jozefzoon would be an unlikely late hero given his contribution so far this season, then again it has been a season unlike any other.