Sheffield Wednesday loss will remind Derby of 2016/17 February woes

Tom Huddlestone of Derby County (C) and team mates look dejected during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Derby County at Old Trafford on January 5, 2018...

Derby threw away their promotion hopes last season in February so they will be hoping defeat to Sheffield Wednesday was just a minor blip.

Tom Huddlestone of Derby County (C) and team mates look dejected during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Derby County at Old Trafford on January 5, 2018...

February was not a happy month for Derby County during the 2016/17 campaign as they saw their promotion hopes slip away following a string of poor results.

After beating Ipswich Town 3-0 on January 31 the Rams moved into sixth place and the playoff places, but they failed to win again until March as they lost four and drew two during February in a run that cost Steve McClaren his job as manager.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Scottish assistant coach Steve McClaren looks on ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group A football match between Maccabi Tel and Villarreal at the Netanya Municipal...

Twelve months on and the club are undoubtedly in a better position under McClaren's successor, Gary Rowett, but this month could still prove to be crucial in the race for the Premier League.

It started well when they beat Brentford 3-0 on February 3, but a draw at home to Norwich City has since been followed by a 2-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in their latest Championship outing.

Gary Rowett manager of Derby County looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Brentford at iPro Stadium on February 3, 2018 in Derby, England.

Despite the loss Rowett's men remain in third place, but with Leeds United at home and Reading away still to come this month, positive results are needed to keep the pressure on Aston Villa in the automatic spots.

Otherwise those directly behind them will start closing the gap and it could be yet another season of being so near, and yet so far, for Derby as they look to return to the top flight of English football for the first time since 2008.

Cameron Jerome of Derby County celebrates with his team mates, Curtis Davies (L) and Richard Keogh (R) after he scores the second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby...

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