Whatever happens at Wembley on Monday, there can be no doubting that Frank Lampard has done a hugely impressive job during his first season in management with Derby County.
The Championship is one of the most notoriously difficult divisions in the world to win promotion from, so to have his Derby in the play-off final against Aston Villa – potentially just 90 minutes away from winning that promotion to the Premier League – in his debut season, is a hugely promising sign for his future in the game, and an achievement that cannot be underestimated.
For the all good work that Lampard has done at Pride Park, it is worth remembering that he has had some help along the way, made courtesy of his legendary status from his playing days at Chelsea.
Under Lampard, both Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have blossomed on season-long loans from their temporary manager’s former club.
The duo aren’t the only ones with Chelsea connections in the Derby squad, with the arrival of Lampard’s former Stamford Bridge teammate Ashley Cole has brought a welcome extra element of experience and big game insight to The Rams’ back line, and it now seems as though Lampard is already looking to exploit those links again should he convert that play-off final place into a Premier League one.
According to The Mirror, Lampard is already considering a move for former Chelsea teammate Gary Cahill ahead of his departure from Stamford Bridge in the summer.
This feels like it could be a smart move from Lampard. Not only would the link between the two give potentially give Derby the edge over other sides interested in the England international, but it would also provide another experienced head to help the younger members of The Rams’ squad.
Cahill would also offer a steady head to help Derby see out games on the pitch next season, something they will surely have to do throughout the coming campaign if they are to be promoted to the Premier League.
In Mount; Tomori and Cole, Lampard’s connections to Chelsea have served him well during his first season in management. If Cahill can make the sort of contribution at Pride Park that that trio have next season, then there will be even fewer people focusing on Lampard’s past as a player, and plenty more discussing what he could yet achieve now as a manager.