Consecutive 2-0 losses to Fulham and Brighton were followed by a 2-2 draw with Birmingham, in which Derby were two goals to the good heading into injury time. Chris Martin and Darren Bent are both out injured, which has not helped matters, and attacking midfielder Johnny Russell was tasked with leading the line against Brighton and Birmingham.
Due to the striking problems, the Rams have been linked with making loan moves for Jordan Rhodes, as per the Telegraph, and Ross McCormack, according to the Mail. Both reputed goalscorers at Championship level, they would represent good technical signings, but Steve McClaren should not be looking at signing people so as to ensure a stable mentality amongst the squad.
With the recent drop in form, players will already start doubting their ability to get promoted - especially after losing in the play-off final last season. The squad will not want to have to go through that situation again, and bringing in a new player to lead the line will make them doubt themselves.
The attacking players will no longer feel as if they can be trusted by McClaren, and, when Bent and Martin return, the coach has to willingly leave out either his first-choice forwards, or his loan options brought in as cover. No one left out would be happy, and discontent in the squad could be rife.
When compared to the rest of the promotion hopefuls - Watford, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Bournemouth, Ipswich and Brentford - Derby are the only team actively looking to make changes to their squad. The rest of the teams are settled, and it shows in their recent form. Whilst every contender is moving towards the top flight, the Rams appear to be dropping away, and the arrival of a new big-name striker could be the catalyst to see them drop out of the running for a Premier League place.