Derby County have been handed a tough start to the Championship campaign following the fixture release.
The Rams kick off the 2019/20 campaign with a Monday night fixture at former Premier League side Huddersfield Town. The last time Derby played the Terriers on the opening day of the season was over 100 years ago. Incidentally, the East Midlands club finished rock bottom that season.
Derby’s first home game of the season is Swansea City, before they then take on Stoke City(A). Bristol City(H), West Bromwich Albion(H), Brentford(A), Cardiff City(H) and Leeds United(A) then follow.
Based on early pre-season predictions, it is suggested that Frank Lampard’s side will face five of the expected top seven in the first eight games. Their alleged weakest opponent in that run is Swansea who have been tipped to finish just outside the top half.
While the Championship is unpredictable and shocks always occur, on paper it does seem a tricky start.
Here's the fixture difficulty grid for the Championship, based on an aggregation of leading bookmakers' current odds. Whoever the Derby manager is will need to hit the ground running, while Sheff Wed could start well. pic.twitter.com/AMASV01ewD
— Ben Mayhew (@experimental361) June 20, 2019
Will Frank Lampard still be in charge of Derby County come Huddersfield Town away?
According to the fixture difficulty index, Derby have been tipped to finish eighth in the Championship. This could change as the summer progresses due to transfers or potential managerial changes.
Lampard remains heavily linked with the vacant Chelsea post. Derby owner Mel Morris recently said the club have yet to receive an approach from the Blues, but speculation is mounting.
Derby have only made the one signing this summer in Graeme Shinnie. Supporters will be hoping the Lampard situation is resolved one way or another as pre-season looms.
The general consensus is that the Rams need at least six new players to strengthen the squad. The departures of loan stars Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori has left big voids to fill.
Turning to the end of the campaign, Derby’s final home game is against Leeds United. It could be a potentially crucial encounter in the race for promotion, and both sides have reason to look forward to that one.