Despite speculation linking him with a possible return to Chelsea, Derby County manager Frank Lampard needs to be focused on preparing his side for the coming season, with pre-season just a matter of weeks away.
Lampard will need to decide, who from his squad he wants to remain at the club and who he is prepared to allow to move on, with the future of players like Nick Blackman very much to the fore.
Much traveled Blackman has been at Pride Park since January 2016, but has only made 23 appearances, having spent loan spells at Maccabi Tel Aviv and Sporting de Gijon.
So what next for Blackman at Derby?
“It is impossible to predict – Nick Blackman or Derby probably don’t know where he’ll end up.
“He has spent the last two seasons on loan at Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Sporting Gijon, but he is still a capable Championship/League One player, so he shouldn’t be short of suitors.
“Charlton would suit him, they are in need of strikers and Bowyer could help get the best out of him. Failing that Salford could be another option. It seems surprising but Blackman was born there and they’ve made big name signings in the past to prove what they’re all about – stranger things have happened.”
“I can only see him either going out on loan, or leaving.
“It’s time to give his career an injection of something new, a fresh challenge and impetus.
“He needs games, he needs to be with a club where he feels wanted and stable.
“I can’t see the Rams offering him that, so it’s time to go.”
“It’s an interesting one.
“I’m a little surprised that Derby decided to keep him at the club.
“I really can’t see him featuring in Frank Lampard’s plans for next season, so perhaps he might end up going out on loan again.
“He will want to play regular football and he probably isn’t going to get that for the Rams next season, so perhaps he would be open to another loan move.”
“He’ll be gone.
“I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Blackman doesn’t have a future at Derby, and surely it’s only a matter of time before he secures a permanent switch away from Frank Lampard’s side.
“Blackman’s time with Derby hasn’t been a success at all, and the sooner he is shifted off the wage bill, the better for the Rams.
“His wages would be better spent elsewhere ahead of next season.”