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Four key factors if Derby are to beat the odds in the relegation battle

Derby County face a seven-game run-in as they try to beat the odds against them and avoid relegation from the Championship. The Rams’ home draw against Coventry City in their last game, coupled with Reading’s 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers, extended Derby’s gap to safety in the table to eight points.

It is likely that Derby will need to win at least five of the remaining seven fixtures to have any chance of pulling off a fine escape and avoiding relegation. Even then, they would need Reading to switch back. Five wins would take Derby to 40 points. The average number of points needed to stay in the Championship over the last 10 seasons is 46, although it is likely to be lower this season given the point deductions suffered by Derby and Reading.

The Rams’ results should improve for them to post a winning streak. They have won just one of their last seven matches, losing five and drawing.

Their remaining matches are: Preston North End (h), Swansea City (a), Fulham (h), Queens Park Rangers (a), Bristol City (h), Blackpool (a), Cardiff City (h). Reading’s remaining fixtures are: Barnsley (a), Stoke City (h), Cardiff City (h), Sheffield United (a), Swansea City (h), Hull City (a), West Bromwich Albion (h), Luton Town (a).

The scale of Derby’s task is clear but nothing can be ruled out in the Championship. Every game, for every team, looks tough and is tough, and Wayne Rooney, his team, the players and the fans will go all the way.

HERE are four key factors that would help Derby’s cause.

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