Derby County left-back Scott Malone was left out of the starting eleven against Stoke City – a decision which raises questions over his future at the club.

Derby thrashed Stoke 4-0 in what was one of their best displays this season.

But the Rams had to do it without their number one left-back Max Lowe. The youngster was serving the first of a three-match ban after his red card at Luton Town.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images).

Scott Malone was the natural choice to step in. The 2018 £2.7 million signing from Huddersfield Town was a regular last season under Frank Lampard.

Scott Malone misses out against Stoke City:

Manager Phillip Cocu instead opted for Craig Forsyth in his first game at left-back for well over a year. He produced a brilliant individual performance.

Forsyth suffered an ACL injury back in 2018. He only returned to action in November and went on to make a handful of appearances as a centre-back in place of Matt Clarke who was out injured. Forsyth often struggled.

His inclusion against Stoke, therefore, came as a big surprise. And, after performing so well, it may have pushed Malone down to third choice left-back at the club.

Malone has made 15 Championship starts this season. However, his last start came at Reading on December 21, and he was red-carded after just four minutes.

Since then Derby have lost just one in seven Championship games. Youngster Max Lowe has been excellent, and Forsyth proved to be a reliable back-up.

(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images).

Derby don’t need three left-backs. And, with academy prospect Lee Buchanan also an option, Malone could be the one to make way this summer.

Also see: Cocu provides update on potential Derby signing; claims ‘positive talks’ under way

Also see: Report explains why Derby missed out on signing Dutch ace on deadline day

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