Derby County are facing a crucial last few weeks of the transfer window, as they look to continue their recent up turn in form and climb up the Championship table during the rest of the campaign.
Phillip Cocu’s side had gone a seven match winless run in the league between the end of November and start of December, which had started to put some pressure on the Dutchman and highlighted the problems that Derby need to solve in their squad.
However, since Derby have managed to recover their form claiming seven points from their last three Championship matches, as well as securing a 1-0 win at Premier League Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup – and that has somewhat eased the pressure on Cocu for now but he will need to invest in the last few weeks of the window to continue that up turn.
Here then, we take a look at THREE issues that Cocu needs to solve in the last two weeks of the window…
The goalkeeper situation
One problem that Derby will need to address this window is who they want to be their number one for the rest of the season and beyond, with Cocu having already dropped Kelle Roos from the starting line-up after the keeper produced some costly errors for the Rams earlier in the campaign.
Ben Hamer has come into the starting line-up and added some solidity in between the sticks, but the keeper is only on loan from Huddersfield Town, and is therefore not a real long-term solution to the problems facing Cocu over who his number one should be over the next few years.
Derby have been linked with a potential move for Sheffield Wednesday’s Cameron Dawson, and whether or not they secure a move for him before the end of the month, they need to ensure that Cocu manages to bring in a new goalkeeper with the potential to be the club’s long-term number one.
QUIZ: Can you name these 18 ex-Derby County players?
Adding more centre half depth
Another problem that Cocu will need to address between now and the end of the transfer window, is Derby’s lack of depth at centre half, with Matt Clarke and Curtis Davies the only real natural central defensive options available to Derby at the moment, with Richard Keogh having left the club.
The problem at centre half has been added to by Krystian Bielik suffering a potentially long-term injury this week, meaning that Craig Forsyth is the Rams only real cover were they to suffer any injuries to Davies or Clarke.
Derby have been linked with a move for Leicester City’s Filip Benkovic, and the Rams will need to do all they can to ensure that deal gets over the line in the next two weeks, or the Rams will be taking a real risk with their limited options at centre half.
Adding more creativity
At times this season Derby have lacked creativity in the final third, especially away from home, which has seen the Rams struggle to break down well organised defences and find much joy on their travels, with Cocu’s side yet to win away from home in the league since the opening day of the campaign.
Those problems have been somewhat helped by the arrival of Wayne Rooney into the side, with the Englishman adding more vision to the Rams’ midfield, while the form of Jason Knight after being his chance of a run in the side has also been a real plus over the last few weeks.
However, with Derby having lost Jamie Paterson and Kieran Dowell, who have both returned to their parent clubs after failing to make a real impact for the Rams, Cocu’s side will need to add some extra attacking players between now and the end of the month.