Derby County have got off to a good start but there are some players who won’t have enjoyed it, as they still aren’t involved in the first-team.
There are a few players in the squad who had few or no appearances under previous manager Frank Lampard, and despite the arrival of Philip Cocu, their role in the squad has remained very much the same.
As a result, they face the prospect of not being involved on the pitch over the upcoming months unless they secure a move away, possibly to League One or League Two where the transfer window remains open until the end of the month.
Here are three such players who will be looking to move elsewhere in order to secure more regular game time.
The forward hasn’t been in contention under any Derby manager since Gary Rowett was in charge, and his subsequent loan spells at Reading and Hull show it is a long road back for him to challenge the likes of Martyn Waghorn, Mason Bennett and Jack Marriott.
He was deemed unsuitable to Lampard’s playing style and it appears the same is true under the former PSV boss, and although Martin hasn’t played below the second-tier since 2013 he may see it as the only avenue available to resurrect his career.
In loan spells at other Championship clubs in recent years he hasn’t impressed or got close to his past form, and therefore there is unlikely to be interest in him from teams at that level.
That means he may have to opt for a League One side. He is still only 30-years-old so if he can rediscover some goalscoring form then he will spark interest, as his hold up play and teamwork is still effective.
A short-term loan at a top League One club could be enough for him to find his feet and as he is running out of time and opportunities to impress, his determination could lead to improved performances.
The Scot burst onto the scene at Watford and put in several high-quality performances, but he has struggled to replicate that form at Pride Park for the most part and overall his spell with the Rams could be considered a disappointment.
He now only has a year remaining on his contract so is running out of time to impress the coaching team, and in recent years has seen young players like Jayden Bogle overtake him in the pecking order – as Anya would most likely feature at right-back now if he was to feature.
The 31-year-old was completely out of favour under Frank Lampard and was banished to the youth team, which means he hasn’t featured for Derby since their play-off semi-final defeat to Fulham in 2018.
With Cocu adopting a similar style to Lampard it is unlikely there is any way back for Anya, and therefore a loan move would help him to sort out not just his immediate future, but the long-term.
It would be a disappointing way for Thorne to end his Derby career given his contract expires at the end of the season, but he has simply failed to recover from the fractured leg he suffered in 2017, and he sadly needs to drop down in division in order to get back to his best.
He suits Derby’s passing style, that isn’t in question, but Huddlestone makes more passes and Cocu couldn’t afford to have a midfield base made up of two players who are lacking physically; in terms of stamina and fitness, Bradley Johnson’s departure was likely due to that in part.
A concern for Thorne is that his previous loan spell in League One wasn’t a success as he only played 36 minutes. However, Luton were a top side last season with a great midfield so he deserves another chance and there are bound to be suitors.
At 26, he is still relatively young and will still hold hopes of a future at Pride Park, but will be aware that unless he improves himself in games which matter he won’t make an impression, and currently he is not able to do that with The Rams.