It’s back to League action in the Sky Bet Championship this weekend as we host Frank Lampard’s Derby County outfit at The Den.
The Rams currently sit one point above Neil Harris’ men in the table after two matches, having seen their last-gasp opening day win over Reading succeeded by a damaging 4-1 home loss at the hands of Leeds United. The Lions remain unbeaten, having played out two draws with Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers. Both sides were successful in their Carabao Cup exploits this week, as Millwall’s penalties win over Gillingham coincided with a 2-0 victory for Derby at Oldham Athletic.
Here we take a closer look at our visitors ahead of the weekend encounter…
Derby County have been a mainstay in English League football since its inception in 1888. The Rams have subsequently built a decorated history, winning the First Division title in 1972 and 1975 under Brian Clough and Dave Mackay respectively – the latter also picking up the Charity Shield. The club won the FA Cup in 1946 following a resounding 4-1 Final win over Charlton Athletic, and have won the second-tier title in four of their six promotions to the top flight.
County have competed in their current spell in The Championship since 2008, after their relegation from the Premier League with just 11 points and one win in the 2007/08 campaign, representing the league’s record-lowest points total. After initially struggling to mount a challenge to return to the top flight, the last five years have proven more promising for Derby, finishing in and around the Play-Off places. Now under fresh management, there is now a renewed confidence at the club that they can mount a substantial promotion push in 2018/19.
Ones to Watch
Scott Carson carries years of vital experience and has been the established number one at Derby since signing for the club in 2015. An ever-present last season, the former England international goalkeeper played a significant contribution in the team’s run to the Play-Offs. Starting at Leeds United, Carson earned a move to Liverpool, where he was part of the squad that won the 2005 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup. The ‘keeper made his England debut in 2007, going on to earn four caps – the last of those coming in 2011 shortly after swapping West Bromwich Albion for Turkish football with Bursaspor. Carson spent two years as first-choice at Wigan Athletic after returning from Turkey, and has now settled at Pride Park. Still only 32, Carson has been a model professional in the game for many years, and has shown no sign of a drop in his goalkeeping attributes.
Mason Mount has had an excellent start to life at Derby County after being picked up on loan from Chelsea by footballing idol Lampard. The 19-year-old central midfielder has been likened to Lampard along with other stars of his position, due to his outstanding ability and eye for goal at such a young age. Mount was picked up by the Stamford Bridge side after being spotted in local leagues in Portsmouth at just six years old, and rose through the ranks to sign a long-term contract in 2017. A loan spell to Vitesse Arnhem of the Dutch Eredivisie followed, scoring 14 goals last season including a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over ADO Den Haag. Having played and scored regularly in England’s youth ranks up to U19 level so far, Mount is widely considered one of the nation’s most promising prospects given his ability to tackle and defend as well as dictate play and find the back of the net. With two goals already to his name this season, Lampard’s ‘protégé’ could pose a handful on Saturday afternoon.
Tom Lawrence signed for The Rams in 2017 from Leicester City, contributing heavily to the side’s Play-Off push last season as he topped the team’s assist chart. The former Manchester United youngster gained experience in the EFL with loan spells at clubs such as Ipswich Town, Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers, before finding form at Derby – where the Wales international has already scored two this campaign. Capable across the front line, centrally or out wide, as well as deeper behind the attack, Lawrence has risen through the Welsh national ranks and made his senior international debut in 2015. Despite only being 24 years of age, Lawrence has accumulated plenty of League experience, also turning out for the likes of Rotherham United, Yeovil Town and Carlisle United.
Martyn Waghorn was Lampard’s most valuable summer recruit, having arrived for a £5m fee just before the transfer deadline to replace the Premier League-bound Matej Vydra. Waghorn is a powerful, clinical striker with plenty of League football experience, having come through the ranks at Sunderland and making his Premier League debut for The Black Cats in 2007. A successful spell at Leicester City as a young prospect enabled the forward to alert other clubs, including Millwall, who took Waghorn on loan in 2013 – he scored three goals whilst at The Den. Spells at Wigan Athletic and Rangers followed, the latter with whom Waghorn enjoyed domestic trophy success. The 28-year-old made a fruitful return to England last season with Ipswich Town, earning him his move to Pride Park. With Vydra scoring 21 League goals last campaign before leaving for Burnley, Waghorn has big boots to fill at his new club and many believe he has the capabilities.
In the Dugout
Frank Lampard has been an icon of English and world football for over two decades. The former midfielder made the step into club management during the summer when he arrived at Pride Park, appointing former Chelsea teammate Jody Morris as his assistant. Lampard began his career with West Ham United, whose first-team he represented for six years before moving across London to Stamford Bridge in 2001. He went on to score 211 goals from midfield in a 13-year spell at Chelsea, becoming the club’s leading marksman and lifting 11 major trophies alongside countless individual honours. Spells with Manchester City and New York City followed, before Lampard hung up his boots in 2016 having also accumulated 106 England caps. A popular appointment at Derby despite his managerial inexperience, Lampard has the respect factor on his side as he embarks on his new footballing career on the touchline.