Derby County have struggled for form in recent weeks and it is down to a severe lack of depth in key areas of the pitch.
Having been the favourites for promotion for the majority of the campaign, Derby County now face a struggle to make the play-offs.
The Rams’ form has deteriorated in recent weeks as they have hit a tough run of fixtures against promotion rivals with a much weakened side.
They have suffered defeats against Middlesbrough and, most recently, Wolves whileonly a John Ruddy howler spared their blushes against Norwich City.
Steve McClaren’s men have suffered a series of injury setbacks which have severely hindered their progress.
Derby were forced to field Johnny Russell and Jesse Lingard, two players whose strongest position is as wide midfielders, after both Chris Martin and the on-loan Darren Bent, who started his Rams career in superb form, suffered injuries.
With no senior third-choice striker, the lack of depth in a key area had been exposed. The normally free-flowing Derby were struggling for goals, and it is not hard to work out why.
But that was not the end of their problems. After John Eustace’s long-term setback, George Thorne finally returned from his serious knee injury before immediately returning to the treatment table. It left Omar Mascarell as their only recognised holding midfielder.
To add to their woes, Jake Buxton has now been ruled out for the season, as reported by the Derby Telegraph, meaning they have been left with just two recognised central defenders for the rest of the campaign.
Things are looking bleak for Derby as a series of injuries have seen the wheels come off their season. They are still in the promotion picture, but only just.