Why Derby County Can Make It To The Playoffs This Season
For Derby County fans, it feels like a long time since that warm day in 2007 when Derby defeated West Bromwich Albion 1-0 to make it to the Premier League. The Rams then suffered the humiliation of managing to gain just 11 points in the Premier League that season, plummeting straight back down to a division they had worked so hard to get out of.
Derby are now a team that has been in the Championship for the second longest amount of time, behind only Ipswich Town, and have been close to making it out of the division, notably when Richard Keogh passed the ball directly to Bobby Zamora to break the Rams hearts in the 2014 final. Is Gary Rowett going to succeed where others have failed?
Derby are currently 2 points ahead of 7th-placed Millwall, who play fellow promotion chasers Middlesborough this weekend. Derby face Aston Villa, who are certain to be in at least the playoffs when the season ends. The Rams then finish at home to Barnsley, who may well have already been relegated. Although the Rams have been in terrible form recently, they still have it in their own hands to make the playoffs.
If Derby do manage to make the playoffs, then anything is possible. They play a very simple and direct style of football which can unsettle some teams.
Brian Clough’s quote, ‘I don’t believe in magic, only hard work’, is exactly the kind of attitude that Gary Rowett needs from his players. He needs them to run through walls regardless of their talent.
As a player, Rowett relished the physical battle and the same is true for his team. If Derby do make the playoffs and meet a team who take them on physically, then the Rams may have a chance of getting the better of them.
Derby would really fear facing Fulham in the semi-finals. Fulham play a beautiful style of football with Aleksandar Mitrovic as the destroyer at the top of the pitch. Derby would find it difficult to stop a team playing like this.
It has been said many times before that the playoffs are a lottery and if Derby do make it, they will be hoping that they have the winning ticket.