The Rams defeated Watford last weekend, and have started to impose themselves as real contenders for promotion.
They are creating a gap at the top of the table, and they could well be six points clear of second place come the close of play on Saturday, should they achieve victory over a struggling Leeds United side.
Steve McClaren has found success with a small group of talented players, who all know the division, whilst the Whites have struggled to cope with the large upheavals at Elland Road over the summer. Massimo Cellino’s takeover saw a massive turnaround of players, and three permanent head coaches already this season, and, whilst Derby are looking to extend their gap in the promotion race, Leeds could well be in the relegation zone should they lose to the Midlands side.
Despite the negative circumstances at Elland Road, the situation has improved since former Academy coach Neil Redfearn was appointed head coach on a full-time basis prior to the international break. He has failed to have the same impact upon the playing squad as he did during his caretaker spell earlier in the season, winning just one game so far, but performances have improved massively upon those put in during the Darko Milanic regime, and he is finally discovering his best starting XI.
His improvement to Leeds has been noticed by Derby boss McClaren, who told the Derby Telegraph that the Yorkshire club have become much more ‘settled’ since the 49-year-old’s appointment.
“I think they are quite settled now,” the former England manager said.
“They had Neil Redfearn before, the players know him and he knows Leeds United.
“He transmitted that the last time he was in charge and will do again. He will make them a totally different side than they were a month ago.”
Redfearn will be keen to see the stability he has brought to the club rewarded by positive results - starting with a victory over Championship favourites Derby on Saturday.