Derby County host Middlesbrough on Saturday in a game both managers will be desperate to win as they look to appease tensions following a run of poor form.
The Rams head into the clash having lost two of their last three games.
Boro, meanwhile, have fared even worse. Jonathan Woodgate’s side have won just two games all season – both by a slender 1-0 score-line at the Riverside Stadium.
From Derby’s perspective, it’s a great chance to net a fourth straight win at Pride Park. However, the following three players must improve from recent performances.
Tom Lawrence netted twice on the opening day of the season at Huddersfield Town. He raised a bar which has been far beyond him in the subsequent batch of games.
The Wales international has scored just once and provided zero assists in his last 11 Championship games. For an attacking player, it’s a poor return and he will know it.
Moreover, Lawrence averages 3.4 unsuccessful touches per game. That’s the second highest of all Championship players. He has plenty to work on.
Duane Holmes is a popular player with Derby supporters. He is a willing runner, direct in possession and a capable dribbler. The ideal player to break lines.
The American, however, has been poor when it comes to a final product.
Holmes sees himself as a creative player. However, with an average of just 0.9 key passes per game, he doesn’t even make the Championship’s top 100 in that regard.
He is another player who must show more for the obvious talent he has.
Jayden Bogle has come back into Derby’s line-up following his injury layoff. The Rams missed the fullback who loves to get up the right flank and join the attack.
There is nothing wrong with Bogle’s attacking play. He’s one of the most creative fullbacks in the league with two assists and an average 1.5 successful take-ons per game.
The 19-year-old, however, needs to work on his defensive game. Hull’s opening goal came from a cross on Bogle’s side, while he sloppily lost possession for the Tigers’ second.
Middlesbrough may be among the league’s lowest scorers with just 11 goals in 14 games. But Derby can’t afford to give them easy chances and free crosses from out wide.