Derby County just missed out on promotion from the Championship under Frank Lampard last season, losing to Aston Villa in the play-off final at Wembley.
The Rams will be hoping to challenge for the top six again this term under new manager Phillip Cocu and have started the season with four points from their opening two matches.
Derby started the campaign with a 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town, but were held to a goalless draw by Swansea City at Pride Park at the weekend.
Here are three things Cocu will have learnt about Derby after their first two matches of the season…
Tom Lawrence will be key this season
Tom Lawrence was an important player for Derby in the Championship last season, but he was often overshadowed by Mason Mount and Harry Wilson.
The 25-year-old produced one of his best performances in a Derby shirt in their opening game against Huddersfield and stole the show with two spectacular goals.
He also played an influential role in the goalless draw against Swansea at the weekend and was involved in a lot of the chances that Derby created.
Lawrence will be instrumental to the way that Cocu will want Derby to play this season and he could be a key player for the Rams in the absence of Mount and Wilson.
Clarke and Keogh both solid at the back
Richard Keogh and Matt Clarke have started together at centre-back for both of Derby’s matches so far this season.
Derby never really looked like conceding against Swansea at the weekend and the two seem to have formed a great partnership at centre-back already.
Clarke looks like he could be a very good signing on loan from Brighton and he seems very comfortable playing out from the back, which should suit the way that Cocu will want Derby to play.
There is no need for him to panic
It was a frustrating afternoon for Derby against Swansea at Pride Park on Saturday, but there were still plenty of positives for Cocu to take away from his side’s performance.
Derby dominated possession against Swansea and created plenty of chances to score goals. They also played really well against Huddersfield in their opening game.
It’s going to take time for the new signings to gel together, and for the players to adapt to Cocu’s tactics and playing style, but there are certainly plenty of positives for the Derby boss to take after their opening two league matches.Like what the FLW have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!