Derby County midfielder Louie Sibley says his side are determined to prove people who have predicted them to go down this season wrong, and are enjoying being written off in some quarters.
The Rams only avoided relegation from the Championship by a single point on the final day of last season, before an uncertain financial situation and subsequent EFL restrictions around transfers meant Derby started the season with a threadbare squad.
That had led to many tipping Wayne Rooney’s side for relegation before the season had begun. So far though, Derby have coped well this season, claiming six points from their opening five league games and losing just once in that time, putting the Rams fifteenth in the current standings.
Now it seems as though Sibley and his teammates are enjoying being cast in that underdog role during the current campaign.
Speaking to the club’s official website about those predictions of a difficult campaign for Derby, Sibley said: “We know what kind of players we have got in the dressing room. Everyone thinks we’re going to do badly this season, but we said before a ball was kicked that we want to prove these people wrong.
“We love it when people say we are going down or we are going to lose or whatever in games and we have taken that as a team, staff and club to prove that we are all good players and we are a good club.”
Indeed, it seems Sibley is confident Derby can maintain those signs of promise throughout the campaign, as he added: “If we perform like we have been doing then I am confident we can carry on the form that we have seen in the opening stages of the season.”
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Sibley and his teammates are set to return to action after the international break on Friday night, when they face Birmingham City at St Andrew’s in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
From a Derby County perspective, these comments from Sibley will surely be welcome ones.
Given the situation they found themselves in with regards to their squad, this season was inevitably going to be a challenging one for Derby.
However, the start to the campaign has been encouraging, and will no doubt have given those associated with the club hope that things may not be quite as tough to take as might have initially been expected.
That being said, you wonder whether things could still get tricky for Derby when the demands of a long season take their toll on their small squad, particularly if any more punishment comes their way from the EFL.