Promotion Race: Derby County edition

Derby County Huddle

The Rams look good for a strong assault on the league's second position.

Steve McClaren has worked nothing short of a minor miracle at Derby County since his arrival in late September, replacing now Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough. 

The coaching staff at Derby County feature former Preston North End manager Paul Simpson and former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele, who to this day is still considered one of the best, if not the best in world football. 

Since their arrival, the rise of the East Midlands outfit has been incredible and with 16 games left, you would be foolish to rule them out of a strong push on the league's second spot. 

The former England manager has guided the Rams to 13 victories, four draws and four defeats in his 20 league game spell at the club, which if carried over the rest of the season would see Derby pick up roughly another 34 points, leaving them on 89 points for the season. Which going on previous season's is more than enough for 2nd place. 

However, a look at the club's fixtures left indicates that they could perhaps even aim higher than that and with no real injury worries, why not? 

Derby County home games:
Bournemouth
Millwall
Bolton
Nottingham Forest
Charlton
Huddersfield
Barnsley
Watford

Derby County away games:
Sheffield Wednesday
Burnley
Reading
Ipswich Town
Middlesbrough
Blackpool
Doncaster
Leeds

The home games left for the Rams are filled up with sides that are in the bottom half in the away standings, four of which fill the bottom six. East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest do travel to the iPro stadium as well, which on paper looks to be their trickiest home fixture. However, Derby can take solace in the fact that under McClaren they have an exceptional home record, winning eight, drawing one and losing just one of their home games. 

Derby do face some difficult away days, including promotion rivals Burnley and Reading, along with Ipswich Town who have a good record at Portman Road. Despite that, Derby have the second best away record in the division and no home side will be happy about them rolling into town. 

Steve McClaren has stressed the fact that Derby County's side, whilst talented, is still vastly inexperienced and will focus on the play-offs first and take every game as it comes. 

A play-off place for the Rams would still be magnificent; however, with their run of fixtures, It seems they could be a very good bet for that second spot. 

image: © eamoncurry

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