The ice Derby County are currently skating on is incredibly thin.
A fourth successive league defeat leaves the Rams staring right in the face of the threat of relegation to League One after a turbulent campaign both on and off the pitch.
Last night, a 3-0 defeat to Preston North End at Deepdale cast Derby’s survival chances in further doubt.
To put it simply, Derby’s fate is no longer in their hands. Rotherham United sit four points adrift of safety, with three games in hand. Whether or not the Millers can find those points remains to be seen.
Regardless of whichever division Derby find themselves in next season, big changes are anticipated on and off the pitch.
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Erik Alonso has agreed to take over the club subject to EFL approval, and the Spaniard will have to dig deep into his pockets if he is turn their fortunes around.
Derby currently have five loanees on the books and three senior players are set to be out of contract. There is only a small squad on the books at Pride Park, and player turnover this summer will be large.
One of those players set to be out of contract is Martyn Waghorn, one of Derby’s longest-serving players out of the current group.
The 31-year-old’s time at Pride Park started off in impressive fashion. The striker scored 13 goals in his first season under Frank Lampard, then last season, he scored 12 goals in all competitions.
But perhaps the biggest understatement from this season is that Derby have struggled for goals. Colin Kazim-Richards is their leading scorer with seven goals to his name, which speaks volumes.
Waghorn is second with a measly three goals to his name in 29 appearances this term. He has chipped in with four assists, but his contribution has been poor.
He is a senior player who has plenty of experience, but at a time where Derby have needed their key players to step up, he has been unable to.
Derby will undergo a change of direction this summer regardless of which division they are playing in, and a fresh start is needed for both Waghorn and the Rams.