After just missing out on promotion last season, Derby County have made a bit of a slow start to their Sky Bet Championship campaign under new manager Phillip Cocu.
The Rams made it all the way to the play-off final under Frank Lampard last season, but they missed out on promotion in the end, losing to Aston Villa at Wembley.
Much has changed at the club since then, with Lampard leaving to take charge of Chelsea, and the likes key loan players Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori all returning to their parent clubs in the Premier League.
Cocu took charge at Pride Park in the summer, but Derby have endured a difficult start to the new campaign, both on and off the field.
On the pitch, the Rams have struggled with consistency – they’re yet to win back-to-back games this season and are without in away win in the Championship since the opening weekend.
The 1-0 defeat at rivals Nottingham Forest at the weekend left them 16th in the Championship table going into the international break, seven points outside the play-offs.
This week, in an exclusive interview with Football League World’s Chief Editor Sam Rourke, EFL expert David Prutton gave his thoughts on Derby’s start to the season under Cocu.
He said: “They’ve put some decent results together off the back of some poor away performances, but then the Forest result has brought them back down to earth.
“Undoubtedly that stuff off the pitch is not going to help one iota. You get the feeling that’s going to drag and drag.
“Points wise they’re not miles off it, it’s just the performances.
“Consistency is what they need to find because we can talk about the loan players that they had – they were very, very good – but that’s yesterday’s news, they’ve got to perform this season.
“We’ve come to expect a lot from Derby County, but that doesn’t mean to say that they always deliver, nor have they got a divine right to be anywhere near if top if they’re going to be inconsistent.”