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A lot is expected of Derby County next season. The arrival of former Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett in March has helped them see an improvement in their play and the Rams should be better again next term once the former defender gets a chance to recruit some of his own players.
Here we look at two things that we can expect to happen in the East Midlands over the next few months:
Derby owner Mel Morris has stated that he will give the manager a completely free hand in choosing the players for his squad for next season. A key part of this is not just about deciding who comes in, but also deciding who to sell too. Although Morris’ message is a positive one at first glance, it also puts all sorts of pressure on Rowett.
Not only will the manager be judged by the chairman on the signings he makes, but Morris has also reiterated the point that Derby need to stay within Financial Fair Play rules and that they should have a core squad of 15-18 players. These sentiments show that Rowett can sign more or less who he likes. However, he will have to sell some key personnel to make it happen and may not necessarily have a massive squad come August.
Overall though, if Rowett’s attitude is positive, we can conclude that he has been given a luxury that most managers are not afforded. We can expect a couple of strong defenders to come in, with a no.9 being a top priority too.
As well as being annoyed by Derby’s penchant for conceding a silly goal, Rowett has announced himself as no fan of keeping possession for the sake of it. Comments made by the manager suggest he believes that once his side have possession of the ball, they should be looking immediately to hurt the opposition.
Having the runners to do this is an obvious tactic and unless they are all as good as Tom Ince, who could be on his way to the Premier League and out of Derby, then they would invariably run into trouble and give the ball away. Key passes are something Rowett is interested in and it would not be surprising to see him attempt to sign someone for the modern ‘quarterback’ role.
Imagine a Jonjo Shelvey type sitting front of Derby’s backline; someone who can receive the ball short and has the ability to get Derby up the field quickly with an incisive pass. This is something Rowett will be looking to add to the squad. However, such players are rare at Championship level.