Guest article by Michael Gabriel.
It’s been a busy summer for Steve McClaren and Derby this year. After a heartbreaking Play-Off final defeat to QPR, they’ll be back in training this pre-season looking to galvanize, and come back even stronger than their impressive second half spell last term.
McClaren’s boys stormed through the league since the former England manager took over in September following a spell that left the Rams 14th in the Championship. From there – with the help of McClaren’s vast list of contacts to loan players in – the team went on to score the most goals in the division and going on a seven game winning streak throughout November and December.
And it’s that contact book again which could lift County that one place higher into the automatic spots come the end of April.
The club have already been hard at it bringing in talent, with seven new faces already arriving at Moor Farm to challenge for a starting spot on August 9.
Although it hasn’t all gone to plan. New signing George Thorne from West Bromwich Albion, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the club, signed for the club on July 18, only to be ruled out for up to nine months just four days later after suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Zenit St Petersburg.
It’s a cruel blow for both the 21-year-old and the club, but with a wealth of other midfielders signed on next season there are still plenty battling to get into the side and catapult the Rams into the Premier League.
Ivan Calero and Alefe Santos have both come into the side joining the likes of Will Hughes, Craig Bryson, and Jeff Hendrick, although McClaren feels he may need to dabble in the loan market to make up for the loss of Thorne.
He told the Derby Telegraph, “I think there are still two or three positions we still need to work on and we are doing that.
“The loan window will be good for us.”
According to Sky Bet Transfer Trends, a system which monitors transfer window buzz, that player could be Tom Carroll, who would slot right in to the hole left by Thorne, whilst Nathaniel Chalobah has also been mentioned. Derby can expect more to come as they strengthen ahead of kick-off in just a few weeks’ time, and should McClaren’s new blood be half as successful as the talent he brought in last term, then we can expect another exciting year at Pride Park.