Championship side Derby County are in a little bit of bother, to say the least.
The summer was bad enough, only being able to sign five players despite losing six loanees and more key players on the expiration of their respective contracts at Pride Park at the end of last season.
For a side that escaped the jaws of second-tier relegation but a single point last term, their lack of recruits and squad depth looked to be a recipe for disaster under an inexperienced manager.
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However, their performances on the pitch have proved to be the least of their worries and would be sitting in 14th currently in normal circumstances, above Slavisa Jokanovic’s Sheffield United who were expected to be title contenders before the start of the campaign.
But the Rams’ entrance into administration left them with an automatic 12-point deduction and all of a sudden, in real danger of being relegated to the third tier, with another potential docking of points potentially set to come their way.
This deduction is probably the least of their concerns though considering the current state of the club, with the club making 20 redundancies recently in their bid to survive until they can find a new owner.
Realistically, some of their most valuable assets will need to be sold in January to keep the club going if they are unable to find new ownership since then, with former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips listing Louie Sibley as one potential player who could leave Pride Park during the winter window.
However, there’s one particular man who should be at the top of their list to offload when the next calendar year comes around: David Marshall.
With the East Midlands side only able to recruit a certain number of players due to their EFL-imposed transfer embargo in the previous transfer window, it was perhaps a surprise to many that Wayne Rooney signed released Wycombe Wanderers shot-stopper Ryan Allsop as one of his first arrivals of the summer.
Many people were expecting him or Kelle Roos to be the Rams’ third choice after seeing David Marshall start in goal for Scotland throughout Euro 2020 just a few months ago, but it proved to be the Scottish international who would drop out of the first-team squad and be the man who would be left out in the cold.
This has been a sickening blow for the 36-year-old who has since missed out on further international appearances because of his lack of domestic first-team action.
He did make the bench against Reading last week because of Kelle Roos’ sending off against Sheffield United in the previous game, but was left out again this weekend against Swansea City due to the Dutchman’s return from suspension.
At this point, there’s probably no point in the veteran committing his future to the Rams in his current situation, so a January move would be ideal for him, potentially back to his home nation.
For Derby, it would also be preferable to offload him considering he’s likely to be on a half-decent contract in the East Midlands and one of very few senior players who are surplus to requirements at Derby.
He’s only likely to become more unhappy at Pride Park as time goes on and this could affect the squad morale in general, the last thing Wayne Rooney’s side need in their current situation.
In fairness, he seems to be dealing with this situation in a professional manner at this stage, but you wouldn’t blame him for wanting to move on and for the sake of all parties, that has to be the best option.
It wouldn’t make sense for a deal not to be struck with another club in January, especially when you look at the Rams’ current financial state of play.