Tom Lawrence

Meet the opposition | Derby County

7th August 2019
First team

As Swansea City prepare to take on Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday (3pm), we take a closer look at the Rams during what has been a big week for the East Midlands club.

What's their story?

Richard Keogh

The Rams have been in the Championship since a record-low Premier League points tally of 11 saw them fall into the second tier at the end of the 2007-08 campaign.

They have made four play-off appearances since, with their most recent seeing them miss out on promotion to the top-flight in May as they lost the Wembey final to Aston Villa.

Derby claimed their sole FA Cup victory after the second World War in 1946, when they were 4-1 winners over Charlton Athletic.

The East Midlands side also have two First Division titles to their name, with successes in 1971-72 and 1974-75 coming with Brian Clough and Dave Mackay at the helm respectively.

Who's the boss?

Phillip Cocu

Phillip Cocu. Following Frank Lampard's departure to take over at Chelsea, the Rams moved to bring in former PSV, Barcelona and Holland midfielder Cocu.

A stylish playmaker during his playing days, the 48-year-old moved into coaching in 2008, joining the youth coaching staff at PSV and soon became assistant coach of the national side and was part of the set-up that reached the 2010 World Cup final.

He also became assistant manager at PSV and - having had a spell in caretaker charge in 2012 - was eventually promoted to the top job following Dick Advocaat's departure in 2013.

He wasted little time making an impact and led the Eindhoven side to a first league title in seven years when they ended Ajax's dominance in 2015.

Further titles followed in 2016 and 2018, before an ill-fated move to Fenerbahce that saw Cocu dismissed after just four months in Turkey.

How's their form?

Wayne Rooney

We are just one game into the season and - like the Swans - the Rams have a 100 per cent record as Tom Lawrence's brace led them to a 2-1 win over Huddersfield on Monday.

As mentioned earlier, the Rams were firmly among the promotion contenders last term and only missed out on getting to the Premier League thanks to a play-off final defeat to Villa.

While they have seen the likes of loan stars Harry Wilson and Mason Mount depart, they have made some astute acquisitions and will be looking to challenge again.

From January they will also have a certain Wayne Rooney to call upon in a player-coach capacity.

Who are the key men?

Kieran Dowell

Wales international Lawrence underlined his importance with his brace against the Terriers, having scored seven goals last term.

The Rams have again utilised the loan market with defender Matt Clarke arriving from Brighton and talented Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell also making the move to Pride Park.

Scotland international Graeme Shinnie was picked up on a free after leaving Aberdeen, while the headline piece of business - outside of Rooney's impending arrival, of course - was the signing of Arsenal's Polish defender Krystian Bielik for a club-record fee that could rise to £10million.

There is also plenty of experience in the likes of captain Richard Keogh, midfielder Tom Huddlestone and striker Martyn Waghorn.