Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer has suggested that Wayne Rooney is doing a good job under the current circumstances at Derby County, but also insisted that their squad is not as bad as people believe.
It has been a very challenging start to the campaign for Derby with the Rams having started the campaign with a threadbare squad. They did not even know if they would be able to improve their squad with any new signings.
However, the EFL relaxed the rules on the Rams’ transfer embargo to allow them to bring in some vital extra players on free transfers.
That has seen the likes of Ravel Morrison, Phil Jagielka, Richard Stearman, Sam Baldock and Ryan Allsop all arrive to bolster Rooney’s options.
Since then, Derby have managed to show a lot of fight within their performances in the Championship and they have suffered just one loss in their opening five league games.
The Rams might even have headed into their clash with Birmingham on the same points tally as the Blues had they not been pegged back by a late equaliser by Nottingham Forest.
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Speaking to Birmingham Live ahead of Birmingham’s clash with Derby tonight, Bowyer insisted that Rooney deserves credit for the work he had done so far this season.
While he also was keen to stress that their squad still has a lot of talent within it and more than some give them credit for.
He said: “Five games in, people were saying ‘Derby will be around the bottom’ but you have got a group of players and a manager backed into a corner.
“I have been in Wayne’s position before with limited resources, you have to bring the players together as a group and to fight
“But his squad isn’t that bad, there’s still players there from when they were in the playoffs two or three years ago, so they are not as bad as people think they are.
“Will they be a little bit short if they get a few injuries, maybe that’s when it will become tough. Again I have been in that situation
“But when they have got everybody fit they are a good side, they played Forest the other week and did really well and lost against Peterborough when they should never have lost.
“They have picked up some good points, they are a good side and Wayne is doing a good job.”
Bowyer does know what it is like to work under difficult circumstances behind the scenes at a club with him having had to get on the with the job despite ownership issues during his time in charge of Charlton Athletic.
The Birmingham manager was even able to get Charlton promoted from League One under those conditions. So, he will know that Rooney can still have the ability to guide the Rams to a successful campaign despite all the issues surrounding the club.
That means that Birmingham have to be wary of Derby in their clash tonight, and Bowyer will be insisting that his players respect the Rams and do not think that they will be in for an easy game against their opponents.
Rooney will have learned an awful lot from the last month or so and he continues to grow as a manager. He will be hoping to take inspiration from the work that Bowyer did at Charlton to ensure that his side can enjoy success despite the difficult circumstances behind the scenes.