Derby County were left frustrated after being held to a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams went into the first East Midlands derby clash of the season looking to pile more pressure on their arch rivals following a tough start to the season, as well as pick up another positive result themselves.
The afternoon started perfectly for Wayne Rooney’s men, too. A quick counter-attack saw Craig Forsyth launch a long ball over the top for Tom Lawrence to chase, with the captain taking one touch and burying beyond Brice Samba.
Derby did have a couple of penalty appeals in a dominant first-half display, however for all their control, they couldn’t find that vital second goal.
In the end, a much-improved display from Forest in the second half saw Chris Hughton’s side grab a deserved leveller, with Brennan Johnson firing low and beyond Kelle Roos on 82 minutes.
The points were ultimately shared at Pride Park, with Derby now heading into the international break having yielded six points from their first five games.
A respectable start given their off-field issues, but here, we take a look at two fresh dilemmas Rooney faces at Derby after the weekend…
How to make their pressure count
Derby, as alluded to before, were very good value for their lead at the interval. The Rams had limited their opponents to very few chances and controlled the midfield.
Ravel Morrison was allowed to pull the strings for Derby far too easily from a Forest perspective, and their interplay in the final third was working well.
In the second half, fans started to become restless, with Derby working themselves into some good positions, but choosing to make the wrong pass and choosing the wrong option.
That anxiety grew into their play, and in the end, Forest turned the game on its head, dominating the ball and finally making their pressure count.
This is something which Derby need to do better going forward. They worked so hard on and off the ball to put themselves in a strong position, but couldn’t find that second goal to show for it.
What to do if no signings arrive
Admittedly, this isn’t a fresh dilemma for Rooney. The club have been unable to flex their muscles in the transfer market all summer due to a transfer embargo, and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to do before next week’s deadline.
Derby have made a few additions, but there is every possibility that Rooney will not make any more signings. That will leave him to think about how he manages what is a very small group of players, with plenty of games to come after the international break.
The break allows injured players like Festy Ebosele and Sam Baldock to recover, and there should be a full-strength squad in place by the time the Rams return to league action.
But if they are unable to make any more signings, then it will certainly be a huge test for a young manager like Rooney for the long-term.