Derby County have had an awful start to the season, winning one of their first five Sky Bet Championship matches and scoring just one goal in the process.
Nigel Pearson’s Rams lost 1-0 at newly-promoted Burton Albion last night – a result which leaves his side with just five points from their opening five matches.
A solitary 1-0 win over Preston North End is all Derby fans have had to cheer so far this season, so why have one of the Championship’s pre-season favourites for promotion struggled in the early weeks of the season?
Here, FootballLeagueWorld writer and Derby supporter Rob Booth gives his opinion on why the Rams have had a slow start…
Many people would have expected Nigel Pearson to hit the ground running at Derby, based on his successful managerial career, as well as the fact he has inherited a fairly healthy squad. But that hasn’t been the case at all.
I think it’s incredibly important for footballers to be committed to the club they play for. Even if they are talented they have to want to be at the club in order to succeed, and I don’t think that’s the case with too many Rams players.
A lot of the players, particularly in the Burton Albion game, didn’t look motivated at all.
Pearson has continued to pick a similar team despite the poor results and, in my opinion, the players have realised that and aren’t prepared to fight for their place in the team anymore because they will be chosen anyway.
I would make a number of changes to the line-up that Pearson chose to face Nigel Clough’s Burton.
We need to sign a new goalkeeper – Scott Carson has made too many mistakes and is not good enough anymore.
Will Hughes needs to be playing in an attacking role and not in front of the back four – we have Jamie Hanson who could do a job in the holding role which would allow Hughes to be played further forward.
Players such as Tom Ince and Chris Martin don’t deserve their place in the team anymore, I don’t know what Pearson has seen in them to keep them in his preferred line-up.
Martin has served the club well since joining from Norwich City in 2013, but he is not the same player he was two years ago, and I think it’s time for him to move on.
Ince is a player with potential, and Steve McLaren unlocked that potential but, since he left, Ince has not looked like the same player at all, but I also don’t believe that players need managers to get the best out of them. Some managers have different ideas and systems that suit different players, but in my opinion the very best players will perform no matter who is in charge, and I don’t think Ince is one of those footballers.
Despite the fact there are certain players who just aren’t good enough, the whole team is looking poor at this moment in time.
Derby look like a team of individuals with no organisation at all, which is strange because all but one of the players that have featured this season have been with the club since last season, so there should be a togetherness in the squad.
But there isn’t.
Pearson has had all summer to build on a team that has come close to winning promotion for the last three seasons, but he didn’t.
James Wilson has been brought in to add pace to the attack, but if there are no players around him getting the ball forward, then he’ll become isolated, which is what I fear will happen.
Derby need a few new signings before the deadline.
A new goalkeeper must be brought in, as well as another goal scorer who will challenge Wilson and Darren Bent for their spot in the team. I also think Derby need an influential midfielder to replace George Thorne whilst he’s injured.
As well as new signings, some of the academy players need to be given a chance in the first team.
Hanson definitely deserves a run in the team – he’s proved that he’s good enough – and I think youngsters Max Lowe and Timi Max Elsnik should also be given a chance. Lowe could be given more game time following Craig Forsyth’s injury, but both Lowe and Elsnik should be allowed a chance to challenge the players that have got too comfortable with their first team place.
In my opinion, there are not enough hard workers in the team.
I thought Pearson would have taken out the lazy players in the team, but he hasn’t.
I think youth should be given a chance until some of the senior players have shown that they are motivated to play for Derby County.
Derby fans… why do you think the Rams have struggled this season? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!