Derby County fans probably thought this summer couldn’t get much worse. How naïve of them.
After so many play-off failures, a graveyard full of dead takeovers, that 11-point season, the transfer embargo, it should have become clear by now that, no matter how bad things look, they can always get worse at Pride Park.
On Monday afternoon, news broke that Josh Knight, the club’s industrious midfield gem, could now miss the first three months of next season due to an injury he picked up in training.
Reports suggesting that the fateful tackle was made not by an over-zealous teammate but my manager Wayne Rooney merely add an element of slapstick to an already cruel joke; a bizarre twist in the tragi-comedy that is Derby County FC.
With just over two weeks to go before their Championship opener against Huddersfield Town on August 7, the Rams have just nine senior players at their disposal – eight, if you don’t include the crocked Knight.
And an already ghostly dressing room will become even more vacant should Lee Buchanan follow Martyn Waghorn, Jack Marriott and co out the door.
According to the Daily Record, Celtic have expressed their interest in the highly-rated left-back – and they are not alone.
Could Lee Buchanan leave Derby for Celtic?
Bitter rivals Nottingham Forest are looking to take full advantage of their neighbours’ plight, launching a £2 million bid for Buchanan over the weekend (Sun, 25 July, page 62).
Derby are desperate but surely not desperate enough to sell an England U19 international – one who has been a Rams player since 2010 – to the Garibaldi-coloured club from the other side of Brian Clough Way.
Celtic, however, are a different proposition entirely.
Offering European football, a shot at silverware and the chance to develop your talents at a club who taught Kieran Tierney, Moussa Dembele, Virgil van Dijk and Odsonne Edouard the ropes, fears are growing at Derby that Celtic feels like an opportunity too good for Buchanan to miss.
Who could blame him, really, for leaping into the lifeboats and escaping a sinking ship?