Derby County pulled off a brilliant 2-1 victory at promotion pushing Stoke City on Thursday evening with Wayne Rooney’s men cutting the gap to Barnsley to just four points.
The Rams would be 13th in the table if it was not for the points deductions they have suffered, contextualising what an outstanding job Rooney is doing with the thinnest squad in the Championship. Colin Kazim-Richards netted the winner as a second half substitute for the second match in a row to keep the squad and supporters believing that the greatest of all escapes from relegation is still possible.
Ravel Morrison capitalised on a defensive lapse in concentration to assist Kazim-Richards’ composed finish and the 28-year-old took to Instagram to share his reaction post-match.
He wrote: “Can you do it on a cold Thursday night in Stoke … of course we can @dcfcofficial another 3 big points, solid away performance from the whole squad , fans were incredible can’t thank you enough for your support , believe and achieve. Lovely way to end the year, see yous all in 2022 keep safe and enjoy your celebrations @manlikecolinkazimrichards shooter my bro.”
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County have closed the gap to 11 points from safety and could shorten that further when they travel to 21st placed Reading on Monday.
Quiz: Can you name which club Derby County signed these 20 strikers from?
The harmony amongst the squad during such difficult times on and off the pitch this season has been so refreshing to see at Derby. Ravel Morrison and Colin Kazim-Richards have had very unconventional career paths but are acting as senior heads in the dressing room at Pride Park. January is set to be a very difficult month with the potential departures of a lot of the club’s most exciting younger talent.
Rooney would have had a pre-existing relationship with Morrison from his time at Manchester United and has been able to integrate him as an important in Derby’s cause this season. The second half of the season still looks very uncertain but the inspiring displays through adversity of late have provided plenty of reasons for optimism moving forward.