Derby County fell to a surprise defeat against Reading last time out, but the Rams are still firmly in the play-off picture ahead of the international break.
After four wins on the bounce, many expected them to make light work of the Royals who are struggling towards the bottom of the league. However, they had too much for Rowett’s men on the day and he may consider making changes for the Fulham game when they return to action.
Whilst one result shouldn’t, and won’t, impact the confidence he has in his players, introducing George Thorne could seriously benefit Derby.
Serious injuries have disrupted the deep-lying playmaker over the years, otherwise you suspect he might already be in the Premier League.
Tom Huddlestone made a slow start on his return to Pride Park and whilst he undoubtedly improved since Joe Ledley partnered him in midfield, you could make a case for Thorne taking his place.
The ex-West Brom man has a fantastic range of passing and can help control the game, something the Rams have struggled with in games this season. Rowett sides generally prefer playing on the counter, but Thorne could help them get hold of games more.
Whilst their mobility might be questionable, a Huddlestone and Thorne partnership might also work, with their technical ability providing quick and quality balls into the attacking players, which is vital.
The likes of Matej Vydra and Johnny Russell rely on the service they get. If you get them the ball in good positions and early, they will easily beat their opponents. That’s what Thorne, who is valued at £1.8m with Transfermarkt, does. When the tempo is slower it can be easier to defend.
To be fair to Rowett, he has carefully managed Thorne following his comeback from the serious knee injury and it will have done the midfielder good. However, he’s now ready to step it up and his return to the Derby side could make a real big difference as they look to push on into the top six.
Thoughts, Derby fans? Let us know in the comments below.