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This weekend was definitely a setback for Derby County and Gary Rowett. It is the first time in quite a while that Derby are outside of the top two and in recent seasons, this has been the moment when it has all fallen apart for the Rams. And with Aston Villa looking so impressive in the Second City Derby, it will be very tough to dislodge the Villans from second place.
Therefore, with the prospect of the playoffs becoming a more likely proposition, promotion looks a little less likely than it did a few weeks ago. With this in mind, planning for the summer may be a difficult task for Gary Rowett and Mel Morris. However, it is likely that they will be planning with promotion in their minds. If Derby do go up, what do they need to ensure they don’t come straight back down? Here are 3 players that Gary Rowett should look to sign the day after the playoff final.
The qualities of this player are very obvious; he is a proven goalscorer and has been absolutely devastating for Newcastle at times. However, his relationship with the management team on Tyneside has clearly become a difficult one. He is currently on loan at Fulham in the Championship just to get some regular first-team football, and there is no guarantee of anything better when he returns to St. James’ Park.
He also fits the Derby system very well, and he would be a massive upgrade on the two strikers the team currently has – David Nugent and Cameron Jerome. The signing of Mitrovic would also send a message to the Premier League that Derby are willing to fight to stay up and not just make up the numbers.
The former Derby player has only managed to play two Premier League games this season and will find it difficult to force his way back into a Watford side that has become more pragmatic under Javi Gracia. A homecoming for Hughes would be the perfect way to celebrate a promotion and would give him the opportunity to play more games and come back to a team where he is loved and supported.
The Scottish international winger is a scrappy fighter. He would add quality to the Derby frontline and his direct running and attacking talent would get the Derby fans on their feet. He has made quite a few appearances for Bournemouth this season but he is not a first choice player for Eddie Howe’s side. If Derby were to get hold of him, he would find a home under the tutelage of another young English manager.