A new centre-back must now become a top priority for Derby County this January and another heavy defeat makes Oxford United’s Rob Dickie all the more desirable.

The Rams suffered a sixth straight away defeat at Reading on Saturday.

The 3-0 score-line was harsh on Derby as they played more than 85 minutes with 10 men. That said, Reading’s goals were avoidable and largely a result of defensive frailties.

Manager Phillip Cocu is down to the bare bones. Richard Keogh’s sacking plus Matt Clarke’s injury leaves Derby without their early season first-choice pairing.

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images).

Curtis Davies, who turns 35 next year, and left-back Craig Forsyth are holding down the fort. They are both admirable professionals, but neither are ultimately good enough.

Forsyth was out of positional for Reading’s first goal. The Scot gave the ball away leading to the Royals’ second, and then his poor tackle led to the hosts’ third from the penalty spot.

Defensively, Derby’s centre-backs aren’t great. But, to make matters worse, neither player is reliable on the ball and that makes it harder for the Rams to play out from the back.

Oxford’s Rob Dickie, however, would improve the side and ticks a number of boxes.

Football Insider claim the Rams are looking at hm in January. The 23-year-old is young, good in the air and importantly he is excellent in possession. He averages over 85% pass completion rate and has helped Oxford keep ten clean sheets this season.

The Mirror liken him to Manchester United’s £80 million defender Harry Maguire.

Dickie joined Oxford after struggling to make it at Reading. It happens for some players, where moving down the leagues and playing regularly sparks a huge improvement.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images).

He has all the tools to play at a higher level. Derby, meanwhile, must find a long-term successor to Richard Keogh and give Cocu a platform to build a new team.

Also see: ‘Awful; Diabolical’: Some Derby fans blast player in defeat at Reading

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