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Having started the summer well with the captures of Tom Huddlestone and Curtis Davies from Hull as well as Andre Wisdom from Liverpool, Derby fans would have been encouraged that big things were to come.
However, Wisdom simply replaced a very good right-back in Cyrus Christie who left for Middlesbrough, and Tom Ince, the club’s main source of goals, left to join Huddersfield in the Premier League. On balance then, things were not really improving in the squad until Tom Lawrence arrived but clubs such as Wolves have really stolen a march on the Rams in the first-half of this campaign.
Given that Mel Morris stated publicly that Gary Rowett, within budget of course, would have the autonomy to assemble the squad of his choice, the buck really does stop with the manager and he will be under pressure to make the right moves in January. Here are three such moves he may make:
Ings has been mentioned as options for both Derby and Leeds, and I cannot help thinking that Ings could do without sitting behind Pierre-Michel Lasogga in the pecking order.
All things considered then, Derby may be the best place for Ings to get his career back on track at a level we know he can boss when fully fit. Given that Derby never really addressed their No.9 issue over the summer, Ings would walk straight into this side and so the move seems likely.
Robinson may wonder why he has to leave at all at present to find a promotion chance, with Preston doing so well. But such is the way modern football works, and a move to a “bigger” club could well be on the cards for the winger.
Robinson has hit just one goal in 11 league appearances this season, but has performed well and certainly has a big future ahead of him. He is looking to make a mockery of Aston Villa’s decision to allow him to leave for nothing, back in the summer of 2016.
Rivals Nottingham Forest appear interested in signing central midfielder Johnson and as surprising as it may be, the move could yet be on the cards.
Derby now have options in the middle of the park and may yet look to add more in January, so the 30-year-old Johnson may yet be sold while he still has some transfer value.