Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has suggested that Derby County’s current situation is not as bad as it is being perceived to be and that the Rams have a similar size squad to Boro’s at this stage.
It has been a turbulent summer for Derby with Wayne Rooney’s side limited to the amount and type of transfer business that they can conduct.
The Rams had been really light on numbers in terms of their squad ahead of the start of the new Championship campaign before the EFL allowed them to make some additions.
Since then, Derby have managed to sign the likes of Ryan Allsop, Richard Stearman, Ravel Morrison, Phil Jagielka and Sam Baldock on free transfers to bolster the numbers within their squad.
As a result, Rooney’s side have been able to get off to a solid enough start to the campaign and have picked up four points from their opening three Championship matches. They will now be hoping to make it back-to-back wins against Middlesbrough.
Quiz: Have Derby County won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
Speaking to the media ahead of Middlesbrough’s trip to Derby, Warnock suggested that Derby’s situation is perhaps not as bad as some believe. He insisted that the Rams still have plenty of quality within their squad and they do not have too much less in terms of numbers in their squad than Boro.
He said: “I think they have some good players.
“They signed Jags (Phil Jagielka) this week, one of ‘my lads’ and (Sam) Baldock, who are two good players and numbers-wise, I don’t think we have many more than them.
“They are a big club, who have had a bad time. I think Mel (Morris) has been trying to sell it for years and hopefully, they will get new owners soon and Mel can relax a little bit and Wayne (Rooney) can take the club.
“He (Rooney) has been inside the club and knows what he has got. I don’t think he would have taken it if he did not know he had a decent squad to work with.
“Yes, I know there’s the financials. But everyone is financially tight at the minute.”
These comments are what you would expect from Warnock really given he has seen it all within the game during his lengthy career as a manager.
At the start of the campaign, Derby looked to be from the outside at least in a very perilous position but they have since been able to add five players to their squad.
Rooney will still be wanting more numbers available to him and injuries would really impact the options he has to call upon, but they are looking better positioned now than they were a few weeks ago.
On paper, the Rams still have a lot of quality within their squad with the likes of Lee Buchanan, Nathan Byrne, Graeme Shinnie, Tom Lawrence and Ravel Morrison to name just a few that could easily compete for a place in most sides in the division.
Therefore you can understand where Warnock is coming from here. However, it is clear that Derby’s off-the-field issues are having a major impact on what they can do on the pitch this term.