Manager: Nigel Clough
Ins: James O’Connor (undisclosed amount), Richard Keogh (undisclosed amount), Paul Coutts (undisclosed amount), Michael Jacobs (free transfer)
Outs: Miles Addison (undisclosed amount), Jason Shackell (undisclosed amount), Chris Maguire (undisclosed amount), Ryan Connolly (free transfer), Paul Green (free transfer), James Severn (free transfer), Chris Jones (released) Callum Ball (loan), Lee Croft (loan)
Strengths: Having a proactive approach to the new season. Derby County have had a nice pre-season so far. One win away at Burton Albion after a summer break and then a battling 2-2 draw on their travels to Colchester isn’t bad for a warm up to another Championship rollercoaster.
But Nigel Clough is not lying back and taking everything for granted. Following the Colchester game, the gaffer stated:
We saw a good performance in lots of ways and there were plenty of positives out there. We should have been two or three goals ahead at least in the first half – we played some excellent stuff and created some good chances which we really should have taken.
A bit of polish and The Rams could be a tough nut to crack this season.
Weaknesses: Their recent history is a bit patchy. Ask any Derby County supporter what their darkest time as a football fan was and chances are the reply will be the 2007/08 season in the Premier League.
The Rams accumulated the Premier League’s lowest-ever points tally in that campaign, a feat which saw the team doomed to relegation with their faces as red as beetroot.
Ever since then, Derby have never really looked like they have been on the verge of rejoining the top flight. In fact, the squad have either barely fought off relegation from the Championship or just sat in the comfort of mid-table.
Last season’s performance: The Rams finished dead-set in the middle of the Championship – 12th position – with fans thankful to miss out on a relegation dogfight but also never really putting up a challenge for a play-off spot either. Surely a bit drama wouldn’t hurt?
If they were a celebrity: Cliff Richard. Always seems to have something to do whether releasing another terrible Christmas single or just popping up at a concert for a sing-song. Derby County are similar – fleeting appearances but never a major presence. They have to break out of their comfort zone soon.
You might not have known: Timothy Dalton is a fan of Derby County. Yep, you heard that right, a former 007 is a Rams fan. Maybe that will give the team a licence to thrill this season. Right?
Championship title odds: 40/1