What a rollercoaster ride it’s been at Derby County over the last 12-18 months.
Not a day appears to go by without one problem or another rearing its ugly head. Club ownership, or should that be lack of ownership, appears to be the overriding issue that is affecting everything else.
Against that kind of backdrop, it’s a wonder that Wayne Rooney has been able to not only get a team out every week for their Championship fixtures, but also to have them competing.
After a 21-point deduction for going into administration, it was always going to be an uphill struggle to stay in the division.
The heady days of the Premier League look about as far away now as they’ve ever been, with the very real possibility of playing their football in League One during the 2022/23 campaign.
Rooney, however, isn’t prepared to throw in the towel just yet. A series of wins has brought the Rams into touching distance with second-bottom Barnsley, who are now just four points ahead of Derby.
However, it’s the gap to safety that still remains the issue. At the time of writing, and despite their recent upturn in form, Rooney’s side find themselves 11 points adrift of the team that’s sat fourth from bottom of the Championship, Reading, who they play on Monday.
The three recent victories have obviously gone to Rooney’s head. After their last win, against Stoke, the former Manchester United star made a ridiculous claim.
“We have always believed there is a possibility we can stay in this division,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“[…] These three wins now are at the back of our minds and we must give our full attention to Reading on Monday because that is an important game.”
It’s perhaps the positive mindset that’s needed when leading a group of men out of the trenches, but if he thinks that the Rams can claw themselves out of their current predicament, Rooney is, frankly, deluded.