Derby County made it two matches on the bounce without a win on Saturday when they came away from Stoke City with a 2-2 draw.
Martyn Waghorn netted twice for the Rams but they could not edge in front of a Potters side desperate for a result of their own, with Liam Lindsay and Scott Hogan netting for Nathan Jones’ side.
After the match, however, the Rams were given a fitness update on last season’s play-off hero Jack Marriott, who had missed the opening weeks of the season with a knock but came off the bench at the weekend.
But Phillip Cocu revealed that the former Peterborough United man is ‘edging closer’ to a return to the starting line-up for the Rams.
And here are THREE reasons why this is great news for the club…
During the opening matches of the season, Waghorn has been Cocu’s only option when it has come to leading the line so far this season.
That is not to say that the ex-Ipswich man has not done a good job – two goals against Stoke show his abilities – but there is no doubt that healthy competition in attack is a good thing.
Marriott and Waghorn both had impressive campaigns last season and a large part of that will have been down to the pressure they put on one another – whether that is for starting places or scoring the most goals.
This is a factor that will only be of help to Cocu.
Marriott is a player who opposition defenders absolutely hate playing against.
The 24-year-old is persistent runner, never giving defenders a moment’s rest, and frequently it reaps rewards. You only have to look at his first-goal against Leeds in the play-offs, closing down Liam Cooper and Kiko Casilla to force an error.
There is nobody else in the Derby squad who can offer that and having it from the start of matches will only help the Rams make those crucial quick starts.
Point to prove
It is safe to say that Marriott was not a favourite of Frank Lampard’s.
Despite his excellent showing in the play-off semi-finals, the now Chelsea boss refused to start him against Aston Villa at Wembley, a decision that could well have cost them.
So the striker will be desperate to prove a point to himself, the fans and especially his former boss, that he is the best striking option at the club and can lead the line from the start.
A striker with a point to prove can be a very dangerous thing indeed.