Derby are awaiting a response after the club appealed to the EFL to relax its rules on player registration, as reported by BBC Sport.
Wayne Rooney’s side, like several EFL clubs, have been placed under a transfer embargo, as a result of the continued financial struggles that surround the club.
Derby had a mere nine contracted players available for Sunday’s pre-season clash against Manchester United, and they are currently without a recognised centre-back.
Former Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka and ex-United midfielder Ravel Morrison were among five trialists who played a part in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to The Red Devils, but current rules prohibit Derby from signing any of the non-contracted players who are training with the club.
Derby would normally be allowed to ‘staff up’ by offering 12-month contracts or six-month loans to those players in question when they do not have 23 players signed on. However, those who have made a first-team appearance are counted within that 23.
Because Derby fielded a team full of youngsters against Chorley last season – as a result of a Covid-19 outbreak within the club’s first team – they count as players who will make up the 23, and that is something that Derby are hoping to overturn.
This is a very misfortunate situation for Derby to be in and a difficult one to assess what the outcome might be.
The fact that Derby were forced into fielding a youth team by something like a worldwide pandemic is completely out of their control and it would be very harsh if the EFL hold their stance.
If Derby head into the season with just nine contracted first-teamers and are without a recognised centre-back, then Championship survival this time around will be a much tougher task.
This is a situation that Derby will want to be solved as soon as possible. If Derby do not know whether they can provide homes for their trialists, then they might be tempted to try somewhere else.