By Billy Davies’s own admission, Derby’s squad is currently not fit to survive in the Premiership.
It’s a shame because Davies is a good manager, a pragmatic manager who will, with a bit of luck, go on and do well as a manager.
Derby have a terrific opportunity in their hands this season – 42 points looks like a tall ask for them but you’d expect the relegation scrap to be tighter and Derby could get away with it with a sub-40 total.
The key in all this will be the players Davies manages to bring in over the next 3 weeks.
Manager Status: His position is safe, even if Derby go back down.
Transfer Analysis: To be honest, Derby look to have brought in quantity instead of quality. There are question marks over the ability of Robert Earnshaw to perform in the Premiership (although surely he will do better than Heskey, eh?), and Davies needs to wheel and deal to bring in some Prem players on loan.
Players to watch: Robert Earnshaw and Andy Todd will be expected to perform, while all eyes will be on David Jones and his ‘return’ to the Premiership.
August Fixtures: Portsmouth at home, Manchester City and Tottenham away, and then Birmingham at home (there’s also an away game to Liverpool on 1st September). Only the most optimistic of fans would expect Derby to get anything from the Tottenham game, but Derby have a good shot at getting points from the other 3 games (Pompey may be too much for them though).
Expectations: Realistically speaking, Premiership survival, even if it is by the barest of margins.
Predictions: Bottom end of the table (16th-20th).