Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has insisted that he believes that the club are capable of avoiding relegation this season despite their points deduction.
The Rams were docked 12 points yesterday after it was officially announced that they had entered administration.
Currently bottom of the Championship standings, the Rams are already nine points adrift of safety and thus will need to pick up victories on a regular basis in the coming months if they are to achieve a miraculous survival.
Rooney’s decision to draft in free-agents who possess a wealth of experience at this level during the summer transfer window has turned out to be somewhat of a masterstroke as the Rams have only lost two of their opening eight league games.
Derby will be looking to back up their recent victory over Stoke City by delivering a positive performance against Sheffield United this weekend.
Making reference to the club’s current situation, Rooney has suggested that Derby could still stay up if they avoid any further points deductions.
The Rams could be docked nine points due to charges relating to their accounting practices.
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Speaking to BBC Sport ahead of his side’s trip to Bramall Lane, Rooney said: “If [the deduction] stays at 12 points, I feel we can stay up.
“No team has ever done that and I have challenged the players to make history.
“If it goes to 21 points, it will be very difficult and it’s likely we will be in League One next season.”
Whilst off-the-field matters have dominated the headlines at Derby this year, Rooney has done a great job to keep spirits high amongst the club’s players.
Although the Rams are facing an uphill battle to stay in the Championship, there is no reason why they cannot put other teams under pressure by picking up points on a regular basis in the coming months.
If the teams at the bottom of the second-tier struggle for form, Derby will eventually catch them if they avoid another deduction.
However, the Rams know that a failure to maintain their consistency will almost certainly result in relegation to League One.