Wayne Rooney has insisted that Derby County must aim to reach the play-offs in the Sky Bet Championship this season, despite their underwhelming start to the campaign.
Derby reached the play-off final under Frank Lampard last season, but have made a poor start to the current campaign under Phillip Cocu and have struggled for consistency.
The Rams are currently 20th in the Championship table and are without a win in their last seven matches – although a victory against Charlton Athletic this evening could see them climb as high as 16th.
Rooney, who joined Derby as a player-coach back in August, will finally be able to make his debut for the Rams against Barnsley at Pride Park on January 2.
It is hoped that Rooney’s introduction to the team as a player will give the rest of the squad a much-needed confidence boost going into the second half of the campaign.
Ahead of his debut, Rooney has insisted that Derby are a better team than they have shown so far this season and believes the team can still finish in the top six, although he admitted that they need to be more consistent.
Rooney told Sky Sports EFL Podcast: “I’ve been watching, obviously I think we’re better than how we’re performing. I think, where we are in the table, I feel we’re a lot better than that and we need to improve, that’s for sure.
“We’ve got a big game coming up so we need to try to climb up that table and put ourselves in a good position certainly to make the play-offs.
He added: “The Championship is a league where if you get some consistency in your game, you can push up the table quite a lot.
“We need to be more consistent and start winning games on the bounce, if we do that we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”
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Derby have really struggled so far this season and there’s no doubt that their recent performances have not been good enough.
Based on how they have performed so far, it’s very difficult to see them finishing in the top six this season, but if they are going to do so, they need to be more consistent.
The good news for Derby is that there’s still time for the team to turn things around and fans at Pride Park will hope that Rooney’s introduction to the team will add some much-needed quality and give the rest of the players a huge boost.
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