Ian Holloway has claimed that Derby County will win promotion to the Premier League ‘one day’ in the near future.
The Rams narrowly missed out on a return to the top flight last season, when they were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.
Following manager Frank Lampard’s departure from Pride Park earlier this summer to take over as manager of former club Chelsea, it has been a difficult start to the season for the club under new manager Phillip Cocu.
After a 2-1 win away at newly relegated Huddersfield Town in their opening game of the Championship season, Cocu’s side have picked up just three points from their subsequent five league games, leaving them 19th in the current standings.
Despite that, Holloway is still confident Derby will return to the top flight sooner rather than later, as he told the club’s official TV channel: “The building blocks in place that you’ve got here, and it is frustrating that you can’t quite get to the Premier League, but I guarantee you one day you will.
“Because you have the fan base that will, in the modern day, get you there and allow you to keep building and growing, and I think it’s a fantastic choice.”
Discussing the club’s potential under Cocu, Holloway added: “If you look at Phillip Cocu’s record, doesn’t look so good at Fenerbahce, but when he was at a place that he loved and was allowed to bring young players through, he won the Dutch title three times.
“He’s learnt his trade and that’s what I really love about him. What I like about him is that he’s earned his stripes all the way through.”
Derby will return to action following the first international break of the season on Friday night, when they host Cardiff City at Pride Park.
I find myself agreeing with Holloway to an extent here.
Having gone agonisingly close to a return to the top tier last season, there is clearly the potential in and around that squad to make that long-awaited step back up to the Premier League.
When you look at the size of the club in terms of infrastructure as well, the Rams do seem to be one of the sides within the Championship that have the setup required to compete in the Premier League were they to get there.
That being said, I do think that Derby need to capitalise on that in the next season or two, while they are still able to keep hold of that belief, and potential pulling power with regards to transfers, that came with their run to the play-off final last season.