Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has insisted that he is confident his side can avoid relegation from the Championship as long as they receive no more points deductions.
The Rams were able to move on to a positive points tally for the first time since they were deducted 12 points for entering into administration thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Reading on Wednesday.
The victory against Reading means that the Rams have collected 13 points in the Championship this term, which without the points deduction would see them currently sit inside the top half of the division.
There is therefore reason to be optimistic that this Derby squad can get the sort of run of results that would be needed to get them to close the gap on the teams that are directly above them in the Championship table.
However, the Rams could yet be handed a further points deduction by the EFL over a breach of the profit and sustainability rules.
Quiz: Have Derby County ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
Speaking to Derby’s official club website following their 1-0 win against Reading, Rooney insisted that he has the belief that his squad can survive the drop this season as long as they do not get handed another points deduction.
He said: “It is frustrating for myself and players that we lost 12 points, but that’s where we are at.
“It’s a credit to the players to turn that around so quickly and put ourselves in a position that if we can stay with just the 12 points coming off us then we have a good chance of staying up. We have to keep working, pick up points and see where we are at.”
Rooney is right that his squad have been producing results at a rate that suggest they could well potentially absorb a 12 point deduction and still do enough to finish outside of the relegation places in the Championship.
That would be a remarkable achievement considering the size of squad that Rooney is having to work with, and also all of the off-the-field distractions that could by now have taken hold of the dressing room and impacted performances.
It seems as though Rooney has created a siege mentality amongst his playing squad and that is something that it can always be very difficult to break for opposition players.
Another points deduction would make it almost impossible for Derby, but until that happens Rooney is right to retain faith that his side can defy the odds and secure survival in the league this term.