Derby County centre-back Curtis Davies believes his side have every chance of staying afloat in the Championship this term, providing their points deduction total stays at 12 as he spoke to the club’s media team.
The East Midlands outfit have started their season in a promising fashion, losing just three of their opening 14 games and winning a respectable 17 points so far, a good achievement after enduring a strict transfer embargo during the summer window.
With these restrictions in place, they were only able to recruit five players during the summer period despite losing six loanees on the expiration of their deals at the end of last season and seeing a few first-teamers including Scott Malone, Martyn Waghorn and Jordon Ibe depart Pride Park.
Quiz: Do you know what club these 28 ex-Derby County players are playing at now?
This combination has left Wayne Rooney’s men with a severe lack of squad depth in many areas, with the forward position being particularly exposed when Colin Kazim-Richards was stretchered off against Peterborough United in August.
But despite their fight against adversity to win 17 points, a total that would currently see them in 15th in normal circumstances, their entrance into administration and subsequent 12-point penalty has left them at the bottom of the table.
36-year-old centre-back Davies, who has been a rock at the back with Phil Jagielka in conceding just 11 goals in 14 games this term, believes survival is a possibility though even with this punishment from the EFL.
Speaking ahead of his side’s weekend tie against Blackburn Rovers, he said: “We know that as long as it’s only 12 points that we have taken off us we have a chance.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, see those teams close to us and back ourselves to get two more wins than them over the next 32 games that are left.
“If there were to be more points then it might be a little bit difficult, but we have to be positive.
“At this stage of the season, you do want to turn these draws into wins but at the same time, they are still points on the board and if those teams around us are losing then at least we have gained a point, rather than going gung-ho and losing games.”
“We are still earning points and hopefully come the end of the season we are in a more comfortable position, but if we were to be in a situation where we need to go for it, I’m sure we will do that.”
More bad news could be set to come for the Rams though, with a further nine-point deduction potentially on the horizon for breaching the EFL’s financial rules. This could be the knockout blow for a side that have fought bravely so far this season.
Considering their current form and ability to remain unbeaten, Derby have every chance of remaining in the division and whilst their deduction remains at just 12, they should be confident that they can get out of relegation danger against all odds.
Many people were expecting Rooney’s men to be at the bottom of the table this term even without a docking of points, so they will be motivated to continue proving people wrong and in the end, this extra 10% could be the difference between survival and relegation.
Even if a further deduction does come their way, something that seems likely at this stage, the fact they have appealed their original punishment for their administration will allow the Rams to continue fighting. If they win that appeal, they would definitely take a nine-point deduction over a 12-point punishment.
Another docking of points would be a major hit to morale though, but they will be hoping to utilise the good news of US businessman Chris Kirchner’s official bid to save the club as another source of energy going into their match against Blackburn. They will need this energy with a lack of squad depth and a busy schedule.
The Rams will also need leniency and a bit of luck in terms of their current punishment and further deductions – and this would be well-deserved considering how the club’s players and coaching staff have approached the 2021/22 season so far.