Wayne Rooney has insisted his Derby County side are in a better position than they were last week as they head into a crunch clash with Swansea City this weekend.
Come 3pm on Saturday afternoon, the Rams may only have one more team to worry about in their fight for survival, with 23rd-placed Sheffield Wednesday playing in the early kick-off against Nottingham Forest.
A loss for the Owls against Chris Hughton’s side would make it mathematically impossible for them to stay in the Championship, but a draw or a victory puts the pressure on Derby when they take on the Swans at the Liberty Stadium – especially as County and Wednesday are set to meet at Pride Park in the final game of the season.
Rotherham are still hanging about though and they have an extra game in hand as they take on Luton – a team with nothing to play for – in midweek.
There’s every chance that the relegation battle could be over in two days with losses for both Yorkshire sides and a win for Derby, but chances are it won’t be that straight forward.
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Rooney though believes that his outfit hold a big advantage over their rivals ahead of the crunch clashes this weekend.
“It’s a strange game,” admitted Rooney, per The Athletic’s Ryan Conway.
“We lost the last game to Birmingham and yet we’re in a better position than we were before (because of Rotherham losing).
“If we do our job, we’ll stay in the division.”
Looking at just points on the table, Rooney himself has a point, however if Rotherham burst into life suddenly they could be in real danger.
Of course things rest on Sheffield Wednesday and their early kick-off against Forest on Saturday – if they get a win then there’s going to be immense pressure on Rooney’s outfit to get a result against a team who may rest some players ahead of the play-offs, but who will be playing with lots of freedom.
Derby’s recent performances have been less-than convincing and it’ll take more than a few words from their manager to make sure they’re safe for another season.