Derby County got their season restart off to a fine start at the weekend as they saw off Millwall 3-2 at The Den to really stake a claim for a play-off place.
The Rams’ victory – combined with some results going their way elsewhere – has seen them close the gap up to the top six and they can now smell another play-off campaign, after coming up under the radar before the break in the season.
Certainly, there are growing hopes that Phillip Cocu and his team can make the four-team shootout at the end of the season and, based on what they did at the weekend, you have to say they’ve got a real chance.
Let’s take a look at three things we learned from their win in Bermondsey…
Louie Sibley set for stardom
What a performance Sibley put in at the weekend as he earned a hat-trick and took home the match ball.
We’ve seen plenty of him this season to suggest he’s on the way to a very high standing in the game and the weekend saw him underline that emphatically. Derby should be delighted to see how well he is coming along.
Derby right into the play-off race
A few results went their way at the weekend and now the Rams are bang in the play-off picture, there’s no doubt about that.
They’ve not really been spoken about as play-off challengers but form – over a three-month lay-off – has not tailed off and the top six is all about arriving at the right time.
Certainly, they are looking one of the sides to watch now.
Possession-based football taking hold
Cocu is a scholar of possession-based football thanks to his Dutch roots and we saw some of that in full flow at the weekend.
The Rams chalked up 65% possession – admittedly against a Millwall side that is happy to surrender the ball at times – and such an approach could really pay dividends as we head further into the hot (potentially) summer months.