On Tuesday 14th March, Gary Rowett was named as Steve McClaren’s replacement at Derby County thus becoming the sixth manager in four years at Pride Park.
Having been sacked by Birmingham in December, the former defender has been linked with every job in the country for the past four months.
He was the man chosen to replace Steve McClaren, who was relieved of his duties at Derby for the second time in less than two years.
With Derby currently in 10th position, nine points off 6th place, it looks like they will miss out on the playoffs again. However, can the new manager end the season on a high in a bid for his side to go into the next campaign firing on all cylinders?
Derby County have been absent from the top flight since 2002 and have always been a team on the cusp of gaining promotion.
With Rowett in charge, things are hopefully going to change for The Rams faithful.
Having guided Burton to the playoffs twice, Rowett did an excellent job with the League Two side and exceeded expectations.
The 43-year-old is regarded as a superb young talent who appreciates the mental aspect of the football, and its role in aiding the progression of his players.
He was able to do a solid job at Birmingham despite inheriting a side who were in the relegation zone when he joined the club.
Birmingham have since struggled without their former manager, but he has not struggled without them.
After being linked with a fistful of jobs but deciding that Derby was the place to settle down, Rowett’s first task was to beat Nottingham Forest, a club that had shown interest in securing his services.
The game was a typical derby with end-to-end action.
It was all going well for the new manager who thought his side were poised to grab maximum points only for Derby’s gameplan to be foiled in the 94rh minute as Forest defender Daniel Pinillos scored an equaliser and ultimately secured his side a 2-2 draw. The stalemate evidently frustrated Gary Rowett, but he was not too critical of his new players.
Rowett made two brave decisions regarding his team’s XI; the omission of defender Cyrus Christie and striker Darren Bent. He replaced both players with Chris Baird and David Nugent, with the latter finding the back of the net against Nottingham Forest for the second time since arriving on loan in January.
Gary Rowett is a step in the right direction for Derby. He is a young and enthusiastic manager who see’s past on-pitch bravado and possesses the ability to look deeper into the beautiful game.
Next season will be the real test for Rowett, and his thoughts will be aimed at crafting a plan to help Derby make its way out of the Championship and into the Premier League next season. However, a positive end to the season could be vital for a late but unlikely push for the playoffs.