Some Derby County supporters have criticised the decision to play striker Colin Kazim-Richards after it was revealed he had injections to play against Stoke City.
The Rams slumped to a 1-0 defeat against the Potters.
Derby boss Wayne Rooney claimed his side didn’t deserve anything from a game which saw the Rams fail to record a single effort on goal at the Bet365 Stadium.
It was without doubt one of Derby’s most tepid displays under Rooney’s guidance.
There was little attacking threat throughout, and some fans were left angry after Athletic journalist Ryan Conway was later told Kazim-Richards was playing on injections.
Ridiculous decision to play him unfit !!
— PamsRams (@pams_rams) March 20, 2021
Just shows what an absolute shambles this team is when we are having to rely on players who aren’t fit!
— James Parratt 🐑⚽️ (@james_parratt) March 20, 2021
This is on the coaching staff. I understand why you’d want CKR to match Stoke’s physicality but why play him in the 2nd half when you can see it’s not working…
— James Kazim (@jrbt86) March 20, 2021
So hes not fit then. Shouldn’t be playing at all.
— LITTLE ENGLANDER. (@npegg11) March 20, 2021
Very confusing. Why risk further aggravating it with the position we’re in?
— Derbados Slim 🐏 (@Simmy_P) March 20, 2021
That’s how it started for Marriott, just get him fit and don’t force him to play
— Kyle (@KyleDCFC7again) March 20, 2021
— Lewis (@LewisJubb) March 20, 2021
I don’t get how the clubs can get away with doing this to players there’s no way it’s good for them
— RamsTime84 (@RamsTime84) March 20, 2021
Kazim-Richards is Derby’s leading goal scorer this season with seven goals.
But the physical centre-forward was forced off in midweek against Brentford, and Rooney said in his pre-match press conference he was unlikely to play against Stoke.
So, it was a surprise to see the 34-year-old start. However, it became apparent he wasn’t fit as the game largely passed him by before his withdrawal in the second half.
Fellow striker Martyn Waghorn, meanwhile, was dropped from the matchday squad which saw academy striker Cameron Cresswell come on to make his Derby debut.
All in all, it was a mess of an afternoon for the Rams who have now been dragged back into the fight for Championship survival following a winless run of six games.
Victories for Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday have closed the gap, leaving the Rams five points above the drop zone with eight games remaining.