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Dare to dream? 5 reasons Derby County could be promoted this season

Derby County Huddle

Steve McClaren’s men are on the rise this season, here are 5 reasons we think they could be promoted in May.

Derby County reached the dizzy heights of 7th on Saturday with an impressive away win against Bournemouth. The performance from Steve McClaren’s side was so good it prompted Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe to declare that they were the best side he has faced this season.

Derby are considered to be one of the ‘sleeping giants’ in the Championship, and in recent years have been considered THE mid-table side in the league. The rapid change in long-term manager Nigel Clough for Steve McClaren ruffled a few feathers, but all-in all the signs look good for the iPro Stadium outfit.

Stephen Pickering takes a look at 5 reasons why the sleeping giant could be awoken this season:

Goals – The one thing Derby County haven’t been lacking this season is goals. The rams invested in their frontline over the summer and the results show it was money well spent. New additions Chris Martin and Johnny Russell have notched 10 league goals between them, and Jamie Ward and Chris Bryson have also netted an impressive amount. The Rams are in fact the highest scoring side in the Championship and if you carry on scoring goals, you will carry on winning games.

Tighter at the back – The defensive record of Derby was a worry at the start of the season, especially for a side with potential promotion aspirations. The first duty of the new Derby County manager was to make the defence more reliable without losing their attacking threat, the signs of this turning around are there. Prior to the arrival of Steve McClaren Derby had conceded 17 goals in 10 games, completely unacceptable. Under Steve McClaren’s reign Derby have only conceded 6 goals in 6 games, and recorded 2 clean sheets in their past 2 games, incredible improvement. The addition of Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom has been a major factor in their much more superior defensive record.

Strength in depth – The Rams have recently had to deal with some major injury concerns which has seen more of their youth team being implemented on the bench, despite this, results haven’t taken a dent or at least not as badly as they should. They were given a huge boost last week when star-striker Johnny Russell and influential midfielder Jeff Hendrick were able to return to competitive football and it looks like they could only get stronger.

Midfield – Everyone that watches Derby will comment on their incredibly impressive midfield. When you look at the stats, you will see that 15 goals and 14 assists have come from their midfield players in 16 league games. Their ability to keep the ball and pass it successfully is also at the very top of the division, which is no surprise when you consider they boast the likes of Craig Bryson, Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick.

Belief - Apathy is definitely a word that could have been associated with Derby County in recent years. After their disaster in the Premier League and inability to amount a promotion chase, it had resulted in crowds dwindling. However, at the minute the club are selling out away allocations and have been boosted in attendances back at home. The buzz around the club is exciting both fans and players, and can go a long way to keeping their competitive edge in a very long-winded season.

image: © eamoncurry

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