Is this the clearest sign of Derby County’s underachievement this season?

Derby County currently sit in fifth place in the Championship.

After an embarrassing collapse last season culminated in missing out on the play-offs altogether, sitting in fifth spot in the Championship right now should be a welcome change for Derby County supporters.

However, all is not well at the iPro Stadium, and their current position almost represents a failure for a number of fans after the expectations increased following a huge financial input from owner Mel Morris.

Derby already had a squad worthy of competing for the top two, yet last summer Morris felt it necessary to give Paul Clement more money to spend and another £20 million worth of 'talent' was added to the playing squad.

And then another £4 million plus during the January transfer window, when the club were sitting in the top two following a previous a superb run of just one Championship defeat in 19 games.

But having said all that, performances weren’t particularly good under Clement, and a seven-game winless run ended with his departure and academy boss Darren Wassall coming in for the rest of the season.

So far Derby have picked up three wins and three defeats under Wassall, yet performances have arguably been just as bad - or worse against Queens Park Rangers - adding to the frustration.

The Rams sit in fifth place, seven points adrift of the automatic promotion places and the objective now is to cling on to a playoff spot with Ipswich Town, Birmingham City and Cardiff City in pursuit.

For the money spent and the ability of the squad before the season commenced, Derby have evidently underachieved but it’s not just a collective matter, individual players also look way off their best.

The biggest indication of their underachievement so far this season is that if you asked supporters to nominate three players for the Player of the Year award, they’d simply struggle to comply.

Richard Keogh is an absolute stand-out following his good form, Scott Carson hasn’t done anything wrong so he’s up for selection - alarming how that’s actually a good reason to nominate - and then the rest...?

Perhaps Jacob Butterfield... But then again, for what Derby paid for him, he’s only been slightly above average which is still a vast improvement on the likes of Nick Blackman, Tom Ince and Bradley Johnson.

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