It’s been a strange start for Derby County this season. Amazingly, they’ve managed to find the net just once in six league outings, an unenviable statistic which can’t be matched by any other team in the top seven tiers of English football.
But on the other hand, Nigel Pearson’s men have managed to grind out impressive draws with promotion-chasing Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion, while winning away at Preston.
And it’s performances like that which can offer some hope to Rams fans who are inevitably feeling somewhat pessimistic about their side’s chances of success this season.
Granted, it’s clear that the loss of Jeff Hendrick has hit this team, while Chris Martin’s goals have also been greatly missed, given that nine hours of league football has brought about just one strike.
But, overall, it’s not been a terrible start to the campaign.
We’re not saying their lacklustre start has all been down to bad luck. However, Derby are averaging just over 12 shots a game so far this year, and it can only be a matter of time before the opposition net starts bulging on a regular basis again for a team boasting one of the best offensive records of the Championship last year.
The arrivals of James Wilson, Matej Vydra and Ikechi Anya only further strengthen the options Pearson has at his disposal. And keeping hold of Tom Ince, Will Hughes and Johnny Russell will have been met with great satisfaction from Derby fans.
Experienced faces are also common throughout Pearson’s side, with the likes of Scott Carson, Richard Keogh, Chris Baird and Darren Bent all adding to the depth in quality in the East Midlands at the moment.
And we mustn’t forget the start Derby had last year, picking up just two points more than they have this time out after six games. They went on to comfortably secure a play-off place, losing out to eventual promotion winners Hull City 3-2 on aggregate.
Though the numbers don’t look great at the moment, there are still a maximum of 120 points to be won. And given that the average amount of points needed to reach a play-off spot over the last five years works out to 73.4, there’s every reason to believe this Derby side can reach that target come May.
Derby welcome Ipswich Town to Pride Park tomorrow night, and the Pearson’s men are 5/6 favourites to grab their first home win of the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.