It was, without doubt, a chaotic campaign for supporters of Derby County last time out. Gary Rowett ended the season as the club’s third manager of the season following the early dismissal of Nigel Pearson and Steve McClaren’s unsuccessful return. However, the club will be hoping that they can finally bring Premier League football back to Pride Park this season.
Many people have questioned the mentality among the Derby squad in recent years after a number of unsuccessful playoff campaigns. It does appear that some members of the squad have never recovered from the moment Bobby Zamora scored the winning goal in the last minute for Queens Park Rangers in the playoff final at Wembley a few years ago.
The 3-0 defeat to Hull City in their play-off semi-final first leg at Pride Park a few years later seriously raised questions about the mental strength of the squad.
However, you get the impression that under the management of Rowett next season, mentality will not be an issue. He massively overachieved with the squad he had at his disposal at Birmingham City, and he will be looking to ignite this sort of togetherness and team spirit among his Derby squad this summer.
It is a challenge that Rowett could simply not turn down due to the host of talent throughout Derby’s squad, and if he can manage them all correctly, there is no reason why the Rams can’t put together a serious push for promotion next season.
Despite the fact he already had a talented squad at his disposal, Rowett has also made some useful additions to Derbby so far this summer. He has signed defender Andre Wisdom from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee which will be a huge boost to Derby’s backline next season. Wisdom was an influential player during the season they reached the play-off final at Wembley under the management of Steve McClaren.
Rowett has also secured the services of Hull City duo Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone. They are both experienced professionals who will add will grit to the spine of Derby’s team next season. Huddlestone, who arrived at Pride Park for a bargain price of just £2 million, came through the youth academy at the club and will now be looking to end his career by guiding the Rams back to the top flight.
Davies will also add quality to Derby’s defence with a huge amount of Premier League experience under his belt as well as the experience of being promoted out of The Championship with Hull under the management of Steve Bruce.
The only concern for Rams supporters in regards to their promotion credentials next season is the amount of players they have sold so far this summer.
The likes of Will Hughes, Tom Ince and Cyrus Christie have moved to Watford, Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough respectively.
Despite the fact that the trio are very talented players, the sales had to go through to ensure that Derby does not fall foul of the Financial Fair Play regulations put into practice by the Football League.
Abdoul Camara, who failed to make any sort of impact at the club has also left as he joined Guingamp on a free transfer. Rowett will be hoping that having a smaller squad next season results in more consistent performances and therefore a better chance of a long awaited return to the top flight.