Derby County mid-season review: Pride and prejudice for a suffering club
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Wayne Rooney, Manager of Derby County applauds fans following their sides victory after the Sky Bet Championship match between Stoke City and Derby County at Bet365 Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Derby County's season is reading like a romantic novel with, love admiration and pride being key factors so far this season after heartbreaking circumstances that fueled an inevitable prejudice against the Rams

Wayne Rooney started this season with what looked like a depleted squad and a transfer embargo that gave the club a mountain to climb in order to overcome the -21 points deduction they received in the early parts of this season.

A black cloud had surrounded the club and for outsiders, Derby are almost certain to go down this season. 

That may happen because of the sheer amount of points reduction, however, in some ways this season has done good for the club, bringing the fans closer and growing the reputation of the club's spirit

  • The numbers

Without the points deduction, Derby would sit 14th in the table on 32 points, a drastic difference from their current position. 

It's been hard for Derby with the squad they have to pick up wins this season with a lot of talented but young, inexperienced players in the squad. Derby have picked up just six wins this season, only higher than fellow relegation placers Bristol City and Peterborough United. However, their ten draws, a division highest, have helped the side enormously in keeping a solid run of form and shows their character and willingness to fight until the end.  

Key players have also made a difference to the side this season with skipper Tom Lawrence leading the line for goals, he is the club's top goalscorer with 5 of the club's 19 league goals this season. He also leads the club's charts for shots on target per 90, successful dribbles per match and expected goals per match. 

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Graeme Shinnie is another who has been excellent overall for Derby this season. He is FotMob's highest-rated player with an average of 7.26, the Scottsman has the most assists and has completed the most successful tackles per match. 

  • Pride 

There is never something more special than a football club's fans getting behind the club in face of a crisis. Derby are certainly one of those clubs, through thick and thin and with all that's has been chucked at them in the last year, the fan base has clearly become stronger.

This spirit is personified by the performances on the pitch, in a situation where there was very little the players could do about it. However, that hasn't stopped the players from putting in some superb performances, most recently coming back from a two-goal deficit to draw away at Reading in the EFL Championship.

Some may argue that the players are just fighting for their livelihood and their careers, which may be true but Derby fans will like to think they're also fighting for the club, the badge and the fans themselves. Whatever, the motivation is for each player, they are all putting in a shift worthy survival.

  • Prejudice

That's what makes it all so special for Derby, there is still hope after 25 games that the club could survive. Yet at the start of the season Derby were looked at through blinded eyes by certain people and were labelled 'already down' before the season would properly kick into gear. 

When the points deduction came this narrative picked up more noise and soon Derby were 'down and out'. However, just over halfway through the season the Rams still look ready for a fight, using the assumptions as fuel for the fire. 

January has to go well for the Midlands-based side and keeping outgoings to a minimum has to be the top priority on Rooney's list. If he can achieve that and use the returning players like Krystian Bielik well, then there is no reason why Derby can't defy the prejudice and end the season on a high.