Derby fans may have missed out on a spot in the Premier League, but next season still holds promise.
The Rams, guided by manager Frank Lampard, will see another promotion charge as a realistic goal. Arguably, the promoted teams are stronger than those coming down, while there will be plenty of movement this summer.
Missing out on trips to Old Trafford, Anfield and Tottenham Hotspur’s stunning new stadium will hurt. However, there are still some new tasty fixtures for the Derby fans to enjoy next term in the Championship.
Cardiff City (H) #Snowgate:
Derby County and Leeds United dominated headlines last January for the #spygate incident. Yet, 12 months prior to that and there was a new rivalry blossoming with Cardiff City due to a bout of snow.
With Derby and Cardiff both seeking promotion in 2017/18, their Pride Park fixture was postponed due to the snow. Cardiff boss Neil Warnock called the decision a disgrace, blaming the Rams.
Derby went on to win the postponed game 3-1 in-front of a buoyant Pride Park. Cardiff, however, had the last laugh as they won promotion. Next season, the same fixture promises to have that extra spice.
Derby have had some interesting clashes against Fulham in recent seasons. During Steve McClaren’s full season, the Rams beat the Whites 5-1 at home and 5-2 at Craven Cottage in the cup.
Fulham, however, got their revenge last season as they beat the Rams 2-1 on aggregate in the playoff semi-finals. Derby won 1-0 at Pride Park but were soundly beaten 2-0 in West London.
Fulham’s relegation will see the two clubs face each other again next season. Frank Lampard, a former Chelsea midfielder, may also enjoy taking Derby to west London to face a former neighbour.
Barnsley won promotion to the Championship following a single season in League One. While there is no real rivalry between the clubs, the short trip to Yorkshire is a good day out for fans.
During Derby’s promotion charge in 2007, the Rams took over 7,000 supporters to Oakwell. In recent years, the Midlands club have been backed by strong away numbers at Barnsley and they hold a decent record there.
Barnsley, meanwhile, may hold a grudge against Derby after their 4-0 last-day defeat at Pride Park in 2017/18 condemned them to relegation to League One.