Phillip Cocu has started to gain the trust and backing of Derby County fans after turning around his side’s fortunes since the turn of 2020.
Having spent time with PSV Eindhoven as manager in the past, Cocu arrived with a tough task at Pride Park last summer.
The Dutchman arrived having seen the likes of key performers Harry Wilson and Mason Mount leave with former manager Frank Lampard.
Lampard, now manager of Premier League side Chelsea, guided Derby to a play-off final place last season, adding further pressure on Cocu to get things right with the East Midlands side.
A fairly inconsistent opening six months of the season has been followed by much improved form, and Derby have now moved themselves within five points of a play-off place.
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Whilst as unlikely as a play-off place may seem, Derby could be playing Premier League or Championship football next season, and with that in mind – we have taken a look at TWO key transfer decisions Cocu should be looking at ahead of the summer.
A new number one
One of the key areas in which Cocu must address is who he has between the sticks.
Having started the season with Kelle Roos due to his impressive form under Lampard last season, Cocu was forced to drop the Dutchman due to poor form before the festive period.
Ben Hamer was hauled in to replaced Roos, but the Huddersfield loanee has done little to impress, leaving Cocu with a problem.
Approaching the summer, Cocu will undoubtedly be aware that Hamer will return to his former club, whilst Roos’ future looks uncertain, and that will lead to a move to bring in a new keeper.
Inconsistent players to be sold
A number of players in Derby’s squad have been in poor form this season, and despite an improvement as a whole – some have struggled to bounce back.
Jack Marriott is one of those players, having scored just two goals in 29 appearances for the Rams this term.
The former Peterborough man is now Cocu’s third in line for a starting place in the lone striker role, behind both Martyn Waghorn and Chris Martin.
Along with Marriott, a number of squad players could be made available for transfer, including Dutch winger Florian Jozefzoon – who has done little to impress.
Six starts and five substitute appearances this term have seen him fail to make an impact, and Cocu will need to decide who he can sell to draw back some much needed transfer funds.