Derby County are enduring one of their worst starts to a season since their woeful Premier League campaign of 2007/08. But this time round it’s not the top flight where they’re struggling to pick up points.
If they’re not lucky they’ll be heading out of the Championship and into League One come the end of the season. In steps Wayne Rooney, but can he guide his side to second tier survival?
Caretaker for Cocu
Since the dismissal of Dutch manager, Phillip Cocu last month, Rams’ forward Wayne Rooney has stepped into the hot seat though not confirmed for the remainder of the season.
Taking over from former manager Frank Lampard, the former Barcelona midfielder Cocu only managed to win 21 of his total 59 games in charge of the club and has left the Rams in dire need of a reboot.
Taking up his first official managerial position, the early career coach has made an impact of sorts since taking over from Cocu. Although Rooney has found it difficult to snatch the whole three points, only managing to record one victory against Millwall in six games total, the ex-Manchester United man is still as yet to taste defeat.
Recording a solitary win amongst a spate of five draws has brought a welcome aura of stability to Pride Park. It’s led many UK bookies to raise the odds on the Rams’ relegation chances.
Although despite a renewed gusto, Derby are still amongst top five favourites to suffer the drop alongside Wycombe, northern neighbours Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as Nottingham Forest.
Newly licensed UK bookmakers are among those offering the highest odds with Derby currently rated at around 3/1 with the likes of Parimatch, Sport Nation and Novibet.
Goal drought continues
One of the main reasons behind Derby’s difficulty in seeing off opposition in the Championship right now is their inability to find the back of the net.
This is a problem Rooney has inherited from his predecessor with the Rams failing to register more than one goal in every single match this season. Even worse, the Derbyshire outfit have finished 10 out of their 18 matches completely goalless this campaign.
Their goalscoring record hasn’t been helped by their main main up front, Rooney, hanging up his boots in favour of taking the helm. Rooney himself has previously spoken about how this could become a permanent fixture.
Sights set on survival
The Derby County faithful have become accustomed to the ups and downs of Championship life over recent years as much as they have to regime change. But unfortunately for the Rams they will have to focus on survival in England’s second tier rather than having their sights set on a run towards the playoffs.
Whether Rooney remains the right man for the Rams still remains to be seen. The Scouse boss has a tricky festive period to navigate with a flurry of fixtures over the Christmas period. Only then can fans and critics alike begin to judge Rooney for what he is really worth.
One thing is for sure though – he has to get his side scoring if they are to stand any chance at all.