The Rams are looking to go one step further than last year, where they were cruelly beaten in the last minute of the Championship play-off final, as Bobby Zamora sent QPR back to the Premier League. Steve McClaren's side will be desperate to bounce back in style this term, and he's already made new signings.
Right back Cyrus Christie has arrived from Coventry City to replace Andre Wisdom, who has returned to Liverpool having been on loan at Pride Park, whilst permanent deals for centre back Zak Whitbread and midfielder George Thorne have also been secured - though Thorne suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, ruling him out for the season.
That injury to Thorne was a monumental blow to the Rams, but McClaren must now assess the options on the transfer market to find a replacement - and he could look to help from Jose Mourinho once again.
The Blues lent striker Patrick Bamford to Derby in January, and the young forward impressed, hitting eight goals in 23 appearances - of which only 14 were starts. Having helped nurture and develop one of Chelsea's brightest young talents, there could be a link developing between the two clubs given McClaren's reported target.
Midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah starred for Watford in the 2012/13 season, but found things a little tough with Nottingham Forest at the start of last season. After leaving the City Ground, Chalobah bounced back to impress with Middlesbrough before returning to Chelsea this summer.
After three loan spells, Chalobah will no doubt want to settle down at Chelsea, but it may not happen just yet, with Derby allegedly hoping to take the 19-year-old on loan as a replacement for Thorne. As a natural defensive midfielder, the Sierra Leone-born England Under-21 international is the perfect alternative to Thorne, and by taking him on loan, they have no extended commitment to Chalobah, meaning Thorne can still take his place upon his eventual return.
Whether it's a short or long-term loan remains to be seen, but after Bamford flourished under McClaren, Chelsea would be wise to let Chalobah develop under the former England boss too.