However, Derby have failed to even clinch a playoff spot, finishing as low as eighth in the league table.
Steve McClaren’s side could have made it to the playoffs had they picked up just a point against Reading at home this afternoon, but they lost the encounter 3-0.
Former Derby defender Higginbotham was following the match, and he was not pleased with the performance of the players.
Shame for Derby but got to say they didn't deserve anything from the game. Fans were brilliant when they had a right to show frustration— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) May 2, 2015
Yes Mcclaren has been linked to Newcastle but shouldn't have bearing on performances. Players should want to get promotion regardless— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) May 2, 2015
McClaren has been linked with the managerial position at Newcastle United, with The Chronicle claiming that last month that the Englishman was one of only two remaining candidates for the job.
While such speculation is not ideal, as Higginbotham points out, it should not have affected the players in any way.
That say, McClaren should have done something when things started to go wrong. Derby had been in the top six of the Championship since September, but just two wins from their last 13 games will go down as one of the biggest disappointments in their recent history.