Derby picked up a very useful three points at Hillsborough on Saturday despite not being at their best play wise.
The international break rust was evident, but two clinical finishes by Harry Wilson and Jack Marriott saw the Rams come from behind to beat the under-performing Sheffield Wednesday.
It’s important that as a team we can pick up points like these on an off day as well as when we are at our best. The division appears to be even tighter this season and grinding out results becomes a necessity at times.
We now have a busy few days ahead of us and on Wednesday night everyone will be keeping an eye on our match away at Stoke City. The game has the added spice of the first time we have faced Gary Rowett since he jumped ship.
I think that it is fair to say his departure to Stoke wasn’t received well by fans who understandably were furious at him taking on a job he had turned down in January. Back then he had clearly stated that he was in for the long haul and Derby was the job that he had wanted over all of the others. Fast forward then to the end of the season and he demonstrated how cheap words are indeed.
Rowett has had the luxury of being able to spend the kind of money that Frank Lampard can only dream about and thus far he has failed to make any sort of impression on the division. Many were tipping Stoke as red hot favourites for a swift return to the top flight, but those of us who have been watching Championship football for a decade or more know that nothing is a given in the second tier.
Stoke will obviously be a big test for us regardless of their early season form. Former Ram Tom Ince will be keen to impress against us. Their squad includes many players that could walk into to any other team within the division, but a roster full of big names doesn’t win games. It’s often togetherness and team spirit that prevails and Derby’s squad appears to have plenty of that!
A win or draw will see some very useful point(s) for Derby. Most would normally take a draw at The Bet 365 Stadium, but given the added spice to the fixture, all Rams fans will be willing the team on to win.
For Rowett this is a must win fixture. A humiliating loss against the club he left would possibly be another nail in the coffin of his tenure at the Potters. Stoke City fans appear to be losing patience with him and how much more time he is afforded will surely be in question should we achieve the win. His brand of football is OK if you are winning, but persistent failure and dull football won’t be endured by fans for long.