Derby County have confirmed the permanent exit of Calum Macdonald. The left-back has made a permanent switch to League One side Blackpool – a deal which could benefit Lee Buchanan.
Macdonald was ahead of Buchanan in the pecking order last season. The 21-year-old made the match day squad on ten occasions during the campaign, despite never making his full debut.
Former manager Frank Lampard was seemingly planning for his future at Derby. After all, fellow left-backs Marcus Olsson and Ashley Cole’s contracts were expiring while Max Lowe was out on loan.
But new manager Phillip Cocu has taken a different view on the situation. The Dutchman has given Buchanan two full starts in his six games in all competitions to date, including a Championship debut.
Jayden Bogle’s injury at right-back means Max Lowe has moved over to the right. It leaves Scott Malone as the only other fit senior left-back, but his early struggles have prompted Buchanan with an unlikely chance.
How Lee Buchanan could push for a long-term role at Derby County:
The 18-year-old is raw, inexperienced at senior level and still maturing. However, his performance against Scunthorpe United was excellent and he grew into the game against a decent West Brom side on Saturday.
The picture at left-back is becoming clearer. Supporters at Pride Park often claim it is a cursed position, with the last top player to regularly feature there being Chris Powell back in the 90s.
Craig Forsyth appeared to finally break that mould. However, the Scot has battled injuries at Derby restricting him to just 59 Championship appearances over the past four seasons. Forsyth’s contract expires next summer, and Derby aren’t likely to offer him an extension.
Buchanan should look to seize the opportunity to get regular minutes under his belt in the short-term. If he continues to impress, a clear path may emerge for him to also establish himself as a regular in Derby colours long-term.