After years of trying but just not quite getting there, this was the year that Derby County fans thought they would be going up. With the arrival of Englishman Nigel Pearson in the managerial role, the players were filled with hope. Pearson does know what it takes to get promoted from the Championship. After a somewhat decent pre-season, the players and fans were eager for the start of the Championship campaign.
It was a slow start to the season as the Rams drew 0-0 at home to promotion hopefuls Brighton and lost 2-0 away to Barnsley. Derby registered their first win of the season against an ever improving Preston North End, they won 1-0 with a goal from Craig Forsyth in the 87th minute.
After this, a terrible run of form ensued, The Rams picked up just three points from their next eight league games, leaving them very close to the relegation zone. It was on the 8th of October last year that Derby chairman Mel Morris decided that enough was enough and he sacked Nigel Pearson. Not long after this, a man loved by many Derby fans, Steve McClaren returned to the club and won his first game in charge, Derby won 1-0 at home to Leeds – Johnny Russell being the goalscorer.
After this, it seemed like everything Derby touched turned into gold, they were picking up win after win, it wasn’t long until the Rams had got themselves back near the playoff places. McClaren’s first East Midlands Derby back in charge of Derby saw his side comfortably beat a struggling Nottingham Forest side 3-0 at Pride Park. After this, Derby had a shaky run of form, winning four out of their next eight games.
The Turning Point
It was now that Derby had thrown their promotion chances out of the window as they kept on losing, even to bottom half teams such as Cardiff, Villa and Blackburn. Derby’s last match ended 1-1 at home against Preston after Matej Vydra sent the boys in black and white 1-0 up after 50 minutes. It wasn’t to be, however, as in the dying seconds of the game, Tom Barkhuizen equalised.
Derby currently sit in 10th place in the SkyBet Championship on 52 points, not where they had hoped to be at the start of the season. Newcastle and Brighton look to be the two sides going up to the Premier League automatically and the playoff positions look very interesting, Huddersfield, Leeds, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday will all hoping to claim and place there, however, from where they are now, the playoffs look very unlikely for Derby.
Feature image credit: Ravanellihasmymoney