Derby County manager Frank Lampard has urged Rams’ supporters not to write off Stoke City ahead of their Championship clash, despite their lowly league position.
Derby face Stoke tomorrow night in league action, with the Rams on the edge of the play off race but their opponents languishing in the lower reaches.
Having dropped out of the Premier League last season, much more was expected from Gary Rowett’s side but Lampard believes nobody should be surprised at the Championship this season.
“I don’t think the Championship should surprise anybody, regardless of how much money you spend, regardless of being fresh from the Premier League, regardless of the individuals that, on paper, look good,” he told Derbyshire Live.
Despite their position, the former Chelsea man still feels that Stoke will be a strong opponent and like Aston Villa, just a couple of wins could propel them into the race for a Premier League return.
“I’m sure they would want more – I want more from where we are – but there’s a long way to go and it is still tight – we know that. A run of results puts you in a completely different place in the table.”
“At this stage, nobody should be writing Stoke off, as much as they shouldn’t write Aston Villa off, or any of these teams that are big teams with big players. If they put a run together, they’ll be in the race.”
The Potters are eight points behind sixth-placed Derby, unbeaten in five but with just one win in six matches. They have won only five of their 18 Championship games this season.
Lampard is right, anyone can beat anyone in this division and a side such as Stoke City could easily put a run together with the right sort of form.
They’re becoming tougher to beat, if they find a killer edge they’re only three wins from a promotion challenge, such is the competitiveness of the division this season.