After a run of stuttering performances, Derby have lost their lead at the top of the Championship table, and they sit level on points with three other promotion-chasing clubs. The losses to injury of Chris Martin and Darren Bent have not helped, and no win in three games has created some serious doubts in the side.
The football on show has lost some of the style associated with Steve McClaren’s side this season, and there are lapses in technique and concentration. On their day, the Rams are arguably the best and strongest team in the division, and when able to dictate games they are incredible to watch.
However, in the Championship, a team needs to be able to do more than one thing to win promotion, and Ince has hinted that the Rams are not flexible enough.
Quoted on the Rams website, the winger said: “When we have all our players fit, we know that, if we play the Derby way, then we can beat anyone.”
Whilst he may be right, Ince’s words show a massive weakness with the Rams - they have just a Plan A.
Not having a Plan B cost Watford promotion in 2013, and Derby promotion last season, and it could do the same again. Whilst teams around them adapt to their surroundings to stay ahead of the game, the Rams are attempting to overcome their problems by hoping. Martin and Bent are big losses, but the inability to adapt is an even bigger weakness.
Ince is a fantastic player, and Derby are an excellent team, when playing at full strength the ‘Derby way’. However, being unable to play in this manner could cost them promotion, and coming up with a Plan B is of far more importance than looking at the loan market for a potential emergency signing.