Has the season come to an early end for Derby County?
Derby County went down 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday evening, leaving the East Midlands club down in 8th position and three points outside the playoffs with only six games remaining.
What will be most alarming for Rams supporters is that it is their side’s fourth defeat in their last nine Championship outings; winning just two of their last 10.
Frank Lampard’s side appear to have been found out during the second half of the season, which includes being held 1-1 at home by rock bottom Ipswich Town, beaten at home by Millwall and thrashed 4-0 by Aston Villa.
Derby have been guilty of bad defending over the past few seasons during their promotion pushes, which has ultimately been their undoing. Their was no difference in Tuesday night’s performance which allowed Joe Rothwell plenty of space to give Blackburn Rovers a 76th minute lead.
Perhaps the most telling stat of the game was the host’s 23 efforts on goal, compared to Derby’s five. Bradley Dack doubled Rovers’ lead in stoppage time as they picked up a much deserved three points.
What next for Frank Lampard?
The former Chelsea star has been praised by the media throughout the season in what is his first managerial job. He has been aided by his former club loaning Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori to Pride Park for the 2018-19 season, as well as bringing in EFL Young Player of the Year nominee Harry Wilson on a season-long loan from Liverpool.
However, despite the number of talented attacking players throughout the squad, there has been no consistency in the squad this season, and they’ve competed poorly against the top sides.
Leeds United and Aston Villa have both comfortably taken six points off the Rams this season. Rivals Nottingham Forest have picked up four.
Injuries to striker Jack Marriott and Mason Mount during the second half of the season haven’t helped, but Martyn Waghorn has so far turned out to be an expensive signing, who, aside from his recent hat-trick versus lowly Rotherham United, hasn’t delivered.
Derby County have a history of dismissing managers quickly and it would not come as a surprise to us here at EFL Matters if Lampard isn’t in the dugout come August.
The former England international needs nine points from their next three gamse if Derby are to have a prayor of making this season’s playoffs – against Bolton Wanderers (home), Birmingham City (away) and Queens Park Rangers (home). However, they finish the season with Bristol City (away), Swansea City (away) and West Bromwich Albion (home) – we simply cannot make a case for Lampard’s side finishing in the top six from here.