Derby County haven’t made the best of starts under new manager Phillip Cocu. Six points from six games leaves the Rams in 19th position in the Championship table, two points above the drop zone.
Only five teams have fewer points than Derby so far. This time last year, the Rams had 12 points from six games and were sitting comfortably inside the top playoff places.
There is no hiding it. Derby have been under-par thus far and the 3-0 defeat at Brentford was a performance to forget. However, there have been some shining lights as we enter the first international break.
Max Lowe looks worthy of a first-team spot:
Max Lowe was a standout for Derby during the pre-season of 2018. However, when the Championship season came around, he looked raw and error-prone, prompting an exit on loan.
The season up at Aberdeen has seemingly worked wonders for Lowe. The natural left-back has covered for Jayden Bogle at right-back and he looks at home in a Derby shirt.
The 22-year-old is defensively sound, averaging 3.6 tackles per game. Going forward, he has shown plenty of potential with 2.4 dribbles and 0.8 key passes per Championship fixture.
Derby fans will be eagerly looking forward to having Lowe and Bogle on either flank.
Jason Knight breaks through:
Jason Knight has established himself in the Derby senior squad. The 18-year-old has made two starts and three substitute appearances thus far and he doesn’t look out of place at all.
Supporters will be hopeful Knight can follow in the footsteps of Jeff Hendrick. His fellow Irishman also came through the academy before establishing himself as a Premier League and international regular.
Knight has a long way to go, but under Phillip Cocu he will get more chances.
Lee Buchanan gets valuable first-team experience:
Lee Buchanan is Derby’s third academy player to get valuable minutes this season. The 18-year-old has benefited from Scott Malone’s injury to get a taste of the action.
After scoring the winner against Scunthorpe United in the Carabao Cup, Buchanan then made his Pride Park debut in the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
Buchanan still has work to do and a loan move may benefit him like Max Lowe. Still, nobody expected the defender to come in and the potential is there for him to become a future Derby regular.