Derby County manager Phillip Cocu says striker Jack Marriott did not start his side’s 2-1 defeat to Bristol City on Tuesday night due to a lack of match fitness.
Goals from former Derby man Andreas Weimann and Josh Brownhill put Lee Johnson’s 2-0 ahead at half time, before Marriott came off the bench for the third time in as many league matches, scoring a stunning first goal of the season to briefly give Derby hope of an unlikely fight back.
The Rams were unable to find an equaliser however, and speaking after in his post-match press conference after the game, which Football League World attended, Cocu revealed that he had been keen to start the 24-year-old at Pride Park, but that the striker was not fully fit after playing the full 90 minutes of his side’s Carabao Cup win over Scunthorpe United on Tuesday night.
Cocu on whether Marriott is in contention for a start against West Brom next weekend. Admits he wanted to start him tonight, but he wasn't fully fit after midweek Scunthorpe game.
"His mentality and drive is fantastic."#DCFC
— George Harbey (@georgeharbey) August 20, 2019
Defeat on Tuesday night was Derby’s first of the season, with the Rams now 11th in the early Championship standings with five points, after one win and two draws from their other three league games this season.
This must be hugely frustrating for Cocu.
While he will have understandably wanted to avoid an upset against Scunthorpe last week, you feel he would much rather have had Marriott available for league action this week instead.
That way, Derby could have had a better chance of picking up extra points that could yet prove to be vital in the race for promotion this season.
Even so, the impact Marriott made on Tuesday was hugely encouraging, and Derby will surely be keen to get him back into their starting XI as soon as possible.