In one week’s time, Derby County will be kicking off their 2019/20 Championship campaign. They rounded off their pre-season with two defeats. A 2-0 loss to Girona, albeit after fielding a mostly second-string team for most of the game and a 1-0 loss at Ibrox against Rangers.
It’s difficult to assess a team’s true capabilities based on friendlies, but by the last game, you should be able to see a few signs of a team beginning to click before the season’s curtain-raiser.
At Ibrox, Kelle Roos apart, there wasn’t much to take from the game. We failed to threaten our hosts’ goal and had it not been for Roos, we could have suffered a heavy loss.
Of course, Rangers have already started playing competitive matches, but our weaknesses were there to see and confirmed that we need three or four more signings to compete for a top-six place.
Roos will likely star in goal and is an excellent shot-stopper, but I think there are still questions about his ability to be dominant in the box and, for me, he is sometimes slow at making the decision to come out for the ball.
Our defence will need a centre-half. Hopefully, Curtis Davies can recapture the form he showed before getting injured, but George Evans isn’t a natural in that position.
Left-back is a concern too. Scott Malone will be favourite to start, but we need much more consistency from him. Max Lowe had an excellent season with Aberdeen last time out, but struggled in the few games he played for us.
For me, we need a good wide player and possibly another option up front too. Both Martyn Waghorn and Jack Marriott are good strikers, but both have picked up injuries on a regular basis.
This season’s Championship will be even more difficult than last. Fulham, for example, will start with a side costing in excess of £100 million. Derby have to wheel and deal and get out the calculator to make sure that we don’t overspend. We do, though, need to make some major improvements in certain areas.
We need to learn how to defend against crosses and set-pieces. We need to improve the balls into the final third and we need improvement on the wings. Tom Lawrence, for me, doesn’t cut it in the wide position.
New manager Phillip Cocu has ten days left to make the much-needed additions to the team. Failure to act will, in my opinion, see us a mid to lower table team.