Specialist first team coach Liam Rosenior believes Derby County can still earn promotion this season.
Rosenior was analysing Derby’s start for the season for the club’s official website when he made a key observation. The former defender highlighted how last season’s top two Norwich City and Sheffield United also struggled early on before claiming the top two positions.
What I will always say is how well you start or how badly you start in the Championship, there are still 40 games to go. The most important thing is what happens now until the end of the season. I can remember Norwich City a year ago, I think this time last year they were 17th and people were talking about the manager leaving and he had been there for a year already. Now, they are in the Premier League. Sheffield United are another. I think they lost three or four games from their first six last season.
Are Derby County set for a transitional season?
Derby have made a slow start under new manager Phillip Cocu. The Rams have failed to win any of their previous five Championship games after winning on the opening day of the season.
Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Brentford was as poor as it got. The performance was reminiscent of the early Nigel Clough days. And the loss sees the Rams currently down in 19th position on six points.
Several supporters at Pride Park have accepted this season may finally be that transitional period. The club have been threatening to have one for several years, despite eventually fighting for promotion.
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Derby have struggled to replace the void in quality left by loan stars Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Harry Wilson. Moreover, Bradley Johnson’s departure has taken away some steel in midfield.
Rosenior citing Norwich and Sheffield United’s poor starts last season, however, suggests Derby aren’t giving up on promotion just yet. Both the Canaries and the Blades had lost more games at this stage last year.
But can Derby realistically expect to challenge this season? Several players will have to make big improvements, while manager Phillip Cocu must also adjust to the rigours of Championship football.