Sky Sports pundit Andy Hinchcliffe has admitted that he still believes that Derby County have a chance of avoiding relegation to League One this season.
The Rams were deducted 12 points for entering administration in September before being docked nine points for breaching the EFL’s Profitability and Sustainability rules.
As a result of these deductions, Derby are currently bottom of the Championship standings and are facing a mammoth task to achieve survival.
However, the Rams’ performances in recent weeks have been incredibly encouraging as they have secured victories in their clashes with Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City.
Derby also demonstrated a great deal of resilience in their showdown with Reading on Monday as they scored two late goals to seal a point at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Currently 11 points adrift of safety, the Rams will be determined to close this particular gap when they face Sheffield United later this month.
Making reference to Derby, Hinchcliffe has suggested that there is still a chance that the club could avoid the drop this season.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast, Hinchcliffe said: “I was there for the Bournemouth game and the West Brom game and they beat teams who play in very different ways so if they do go down it is such a shame because the team and the players have been punished for what’s gone on off the field.
“But they are still in with a chance and I said this right at the start of the season before they got the extra points deduction and everyone had written them off completely.
Quiz: Can you name which club Derby County sold these 26 players to?
“Everyone I spoke to said that they had absolutely no chance but we’re still saying there’s a chance they could stay up so I hope that continues.”
Derby’s performances this season have been incredibly impressive given that Rooney was only able to strengthen his squad by making permanent moves for free-agents in the summer transfer window.
The likes of Phil Jagielka, Ravel Morrison and Sam Baldock have all gone to feature regularly for the Rams in the Championship since making the switch to Pride Park.
Rooney’s ability to get the best out of his young players has also played a role in Derby’s recent resurgence as the club have managed to pick up 10 points from their last four league games.
By securing victories in their clashes with the Blades, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City later this month, the Rams could put the sides who are closest to them in the second-tier standings under a considerable amount of pressure and thus keep their hopes of achieving a miraculous survival alive.