Two successive away defeats for Wayne Rooney’s men suggest that relegation is still a huge concern for Derby County.
The Rams have been involved in the relegation scrap for the majority of the season, but a run of six wins in eights games that started in mid-January, appeared to have eliminated the threat of relegation.
Since then, Derby have managed just a single win in their last five games, bringing back those relegation concerns that were seemingly disappearing.
Defensively speaking, only their bitter rivals, Nottingham Forest, have let in fewer goals. The Rams have conceded 38 goals in their 34 fixtures this season, recording 10 clean sheets in the process, highlighting that the problem lies elsewhere.
With that issue being their goal-scoring capabilities. The Rams have only netted 25 times this season, averaging a mere 0.74 goals a game. Only Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers have scored less than Derby, with the mentioned duo’s Championship fight nearing an end.
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34-year-old forward Colin Kazim-Richards has seven league goals to his name this season and is likely to run unopposed to the club’s golden boot award. Martyn Waghorn and Jason Knight share second place at present, with three goals apiece. The lack of natural goal-scorers seems to be the issue that is holding the club up this season.
Lee Gregory has not made the impact that fans would have expected this season, whilst Kazim-Richards does not have too many years left playing at a Championship standard, meaning a striker ranks particularly high up on Wayne Rooney’s priority list this summer.
The financial constraints that Derby are already under, combined with the high number of players who are out of contract this summer, means that the club need to be already scouring the market for forwards who will be able to rectify their goal-scoring problems.
Of course, this all depends on what level of football the club are at next season. Relegation to the third tier could prove to be disastrous for a club like Derby County, and their ability to attract players will fade.
The Rams still have four of the top six to play before the season ends in May, but also have two pivotal matches against Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday, with the latter game falling on the final day of the season.
Their six-point gap may look healthy now, but a difficult run-in suggests that they cannot be too confident.